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Phone evidence helped lead to rape charges against ex-U of I cop; incidents go back to 2012
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Phone evidence helped lead to rape charges against ex-U of I cop; incidents go back to 2012


LeROY — Evidence found on the cellphone of a former University of Illinois police officer charged in December with official misconduct led to additional charges of sexual assault, sexual abuse and intimidation involving four separate victims, authorities said Thursday.

Jerald E. Sandage, 48, of LeRoy remained in custody following a court appearance in Champaign County.

Sandage was arraigned on five counts of criminal sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual abuse and two counts of intimidation for incidents dating to June 2012. He was arrested on the new charges on Wednesday. He already faced seven counts of official misconduct.

His cases were continued until 1:30 p.m. May 1 for appearance of counsel. He did not enter a plea on the new charges Thursday because he does not yet have an attorney. Bloomington attorney Stephanie Wong represented him in the official misconduct case, for which he posted bond and pleaded not guilty, but does not represent him in the new case.

Bond has been set at $750,000 in each of the four new cases, for a total of $3 million, according to the Champaign County state’s attorney office.

All the incidents allegedly occurred while Sandage was a member of the U of I Police Department. Interim Police Chief Matt Myrick said Sandage’s police authority was revoked during an investigation and Sandage resigned Feb. 27.

The official misconduct charges allege that between 2017 and 2018, Sandage used a police data system to search for information about people for his personal advantage and no official reason.

Evidence found on Sandage’s cellphone during the initial investigation, and information from people who later came forward, led to the latest charges, according to State’s Attorney Julia Rietz.

The new charges are as follows:

Sandage is accused of assaulting a woman on June 29, 2012, knowing she was unable to give consent. According to the charges, Sandage and the woman were friends, had been to a bar and she fell asleep at his residence after becoming intoxicated. Photos on Sandage’s phone showed Sandage committing a sex act with her; she was unaware until shown the photographs.

On March 19, 2016, Sandage is accused of an act of sexual conduct with a woman knowing she was unable to give consent. Photos on his phone showed the woman, apparently unconscious and in various states of undress, while Sandage committed the act, according to the charges. The woman was described as a friend and was unaware of the acts until she was shown the photographs.

On Sept. 22, 2018, Sandage is accused of committing sexual acts with a woman who was unable to give consent. They had met in a bar and she had a drink and fell asleep at Sandage’s apartment, then awoke to find Sandage on top of her, according to the charges. The investigation discovered searches on Sandage’s phone from Sept. 3, 2018, seeking information about date rape drugs, the state’s attorney’s office said.

The assault and intimidation charges allege Sandage committed sexual acts knowing the victim could not give consent and threatened to expose her relationship with a married man unless she had sex with Sandage, according to the state’s attorney’s office. Those incidents are alleged to have occurred between Nov. 1, 2017, and Nov. 1, 2019.

Criminal sexual assault is a Class 1 felony punishable upon conviction by four to 15 years in prison. Criminal sexual abuse is a Class 4 felony punishable upon conviction by one to three years in prison. Intimidation is a Class 3 felony, punishable upon conviction by two to 10 years in prison.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Illinois State Police, Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, University of Illinois Police Department, or anonymously through Crime Stoppers. State police tip lines are at 815-844-1500, Ext. 2321, and 217-278-5004.

Contact Lenore Sobota at (309) 820-3240. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Sobota

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