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Former Unit 5 teacher asks court to separate sexual assault charges

Former Unit 5 teacher asks court to separate sexual assault charges


Jonathon Hovey, left, with his attorney, Tristan Bullington, in front of Judge Scott Drazewski on Aug. 16, at the McLean County Law and Justice Center.

BLOOMINGTON — The former McLean County Unit 5 teacher accused of sexually assaulting two students is asking that his case be separated into two.

Jonathon Hovey, 47, of Forsyth appeared in a brief status hearing Friday morning.

His attorney Tristan Bullington filed a severance motion on his behalf requesting the two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, alleged to have occurred between Aug. 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018, be tried as one case.

The two additional counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, which allege these crimes between Aug. 1, 2004 and May 31, 2005, would be tried as a separate second case.

According to the motion, offenses may be joined if they are based on the same offense or offenses that are part of the same “comprehensive transaction,” and Bullington argues the alleged instances do not meet the necessary conditions.

“The allegations show that the alleged offenses did not occur in close proximity to each other, there is no link between the two different alleged victims and no evidence for the charges involving one victim would establish the elements of the offenses for the other victims,” according to the motion.

The McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office has 30 days to file a response to the motion. A hearing will be held at 3 p.m. Jan. 7.

Hovey pleaded not guilty to the charges in August, when Bullington said, “We'll be presenting a vigorous defense to the charges. We ask that the public reserve judgment until all the facts are available to them."

Contact Kelsey Watznauer at (309) 820-3254. Follow her on Twitter: @kwatznauer.

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