2 charged in Kendall County Food Pantry theft want change of venue

The two men charged with stealing money from the former Kendall County Food Pantry want a change of venue, believing it will be difficult to find an impartial jury in Kendall County.

And a judge ruled Tuesday the media can photograph and audio record court appearances, against their wishes.

Judge Timothy McCann overruled the objections of attorneys for Kenneth Spaeth and his father-in-law, William T. Crowley.

Spaeth's attorney, Edward Edens, argued extended media coverage would hurt his client's ability to select a fair and unbiased jury.

He also said that would "cause difficulties" for Spaeth's children, some of whom attend school. He pointed out their mother, former pantry director Maria Spaeth, has died, and that the photo and audio coverage would damage their psyches.

Edens also argued that the charged are "not so important that or substantial that the public would benefit from extended media coverage."

"There is no reason for this. This is a theft case," agreed Gary Johnson, Crowley's attorney. He also said because "everybody" in the community is involved in the pantry, "it is going to be difficult to get a jury."

Crowley, who lives in Arizona, made his first appearance in Illinois court. He was arrested in January in Arizona and posted bail. Spaeth, formerly of Yorkville, was arrested in Sandwich. Both are free on bond and return to court March 28.

The two are each accused of stealing between $10,000 and $100,000 from the charity pantry. Spaeth is accused of doing so between Dec. 1, 2013 and April 30, 2016, when he was the volunteer treasurer of the pantry. His wife was a full-time volunteer for the pantry.

Crowley, a volunteer at the pantry, is accused of theft from July 1, 2013 to March 30, 2016.

The Spaeths resigned from the board of directors in June 2016 after an investigation by Yorkville police and a special prosecutor began. Maria died several weeks later of a combination of prescription painkillers and sedatives at the Spaeths' second home at Lake Holiday, near Sandwich.

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