The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

October 8, 2013

Hoopeston man faces sexual abuse charge

HOOPESTON — A Vermilion County man remains in custody after being arrested for allegedly engaging in pornographic acts with a small child.

Hoopeston Police officers arrested James L. Lewis, 44, of Hoopeston Sunday evening at his home in the 600 block of McCracken Street. He was booked just before 11:30 p.m. Sunday at the Public Safety Building on preliminary charges of aggravated child pornography, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, resisting arrest, aggravated battery of a police officer and threatening a public official.

Hoopeston Police Chief Mark Drollinger said Monday that Lewis was arrested as a result of a report filed by the parents of a 5-year-old Hoopeston girl.

Police were contacted by the girl’s parents just before 7 p.m. Sunday in reference to an incident that allegedly took place between the girl and Lewis earlier Sunday.

Drollinger said the girl told her parents and police that Lewis allegedly touched her “inappropriately” and then took pictures of her.

Lewis faces a formal charge on a Class 2 felony of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in the case, a charge punishable by up to seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. No charges of child pornography were filed against Lewis by the Vermilion County State’s Attorney’s Office on Monday.

Assistant State’s Attorney Chuck Mockbee said the office is still reviewing reports from the investigation. The charges filed at this point are simply preliminary charges, he said, and more charges could be filed against Lewis in the future.

Drollinger said the young girl knew Lewis at the time of the incident. The girl was not injured.

Officers investigating the report went to Lewis’ home where, in the course of the investigation, recovered evidence from the scene to suggest that Lewis was the suspect, Drollinger said.

The case remained under investigation Monday, with Drollinger saying police are looking into the potential of other victims.

In the process of being arrested, Lewis kicked officers and made multiple threats to harm them, Drollinger said. That lead to the additional charges Lewis was arrested on.

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