Drunk off imagined power, yet another officer decided to flex their position and coerce another minor into a sexual relationship. This time the “boy in blue” is in Illinois. 35-year-old Jason Personette has been charged with criminal sexual assault of a minor with whom he held a position of trust, authority or supervision. The charges against Personette were filed Wednesday afternoon in Winnebago County Court. He was arrested and booked into the Winnebago County Jail a little before 5pm Wednesday afternoon.
Personette, a Cherry Valley police officer, was involved in the Cherry Valley Police Explorers program which introduces teenagers to careers in law enforcement. According to the Winnebago County Circuit Clerk website, the pedo cop is facing multiple counts of criminal sexual assault of a victim between the ages of 13 and 17.
Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department chief deputy, Mark Karner, confirmed that the department was investigating one of their own but declined to elaborate on the nature of the allegations. He did say that an announcement would be made on the case Thursday. The Winnebago County State’s Attorney, Joe Bruscato, did announce a five-count bill of indictment against Personette Thursday. Bruscato said Personette the only suspect and that the matter does not involve Exploring officials.
WIFR reports that the Cherry Valley police department was first notified of Personette’s pension for young poon on Jan. 28th. The case was immediately handed over to detectives in the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office.
“We quickly referred it to our detective bureau,” Sheriff Gary Caruana said. “They drilled down on the investigation and obtained findings we turned over to the state’s attorney’s office.”
The Cherry Valley police chief, Robert Swank, refused to comment stating that personnel matters were off limits.
“This should not reflect poorly on the men and women of the Cherry Valley Police Department”, said Chief Swank. “We will cooperate fully with the Sheriff’s Department and the State’s Attorneys office as the investigation moves forward”.
Swank confirmed that his department was cooperating with the investigation but deferred all questions about the case to the State Attorney’s office.
Investigators are saying that Personette assaulted the victim several times between August 1, 2017 and November 20, 2017 in Winnebago County. At the time, the victim was 17-years-old, according to the charging documents. The victim was a member of the Cherry Valley Explorers program in Illinois while Personette was an advisor. The Rock River Times reports that the various assaults occurred in various locations in Winnebago County in August and November 2017, when Personette was an adviser in the Explorers program.
Despite his access to the impressionable minors, investigators are claiming that it was an isolated incident. His bail amount has been set at $50,000. Each count of criminal sexual assault faces 4-15 years in prison, and requires a lifetime registration as a sex offender, if convicted.
“No one is above the law and everyone is accountable for their actions”, said Bruscato. “If those actions result in a violation of the criminal law, those charges will be brought when the evidence supports it”.
“This is not reflective of law enforcement,” Sheriff Caruana said. “But if there is anyone out there that this has happened to in the past with any officer, specifically this case involving Cherry Valley, please call the sheriff’s department.”
In light of these revelations, Personette is still on PAID leave pending the outcome of the investigation. His bond has been set at a cool half a mil.
“We look to our community to accept leadership roles,” Bruscato said. “And part of that is to participate when they can at any level. Those that step up do a terrific job. When somebody doesn’t embrace that role, it’s disappointing. But we shouldn’t allow that to dissuade people from being involved in good programs and recognizing that we have a wealth of leadership in this community.
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