A local man accused of predatory criminal sexual assault appeared in Morgan County court this morning for a preliminary hearing.
Twenty-seven year old Anthony Garcia appeared in court along with Public Defender Tom Piper this morning. Garcia is facing four counts of alleged predatory criminal sexual assault to a victim under the age of 13 following his arrest on March 27th.
At the time of his arrest, Lieutenant of Investigations with Jacksonville Police Doug Thompson said that authorities had been conducting an investigation for several months into allegations that Garcia had sexual contact with two individuals under the age of 13 that were known to him. Thompson went on to say at that time that police were looking into allegations that there were multiple incidents of sexual contact between Garcia and the victims, and that the incidents were believed to have taken place over the course of approximately one year, between mid-2016 and mid-2017.
Garcia ultimately chose to waive his right to a preliminary hearing. Prior to doing so however, to ensure Garcia was accurately informed of the possible penalties he could face if convicted, Judge Chris Reif read the potential sentencing ranges to the defendant.
Judge Reif informed Garcia that, if convicted, each of the four counts carries a possible sentencing range of six to 60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections…and, if the defendant is found guilty of predatory criminal sexual assault to two different victims under the age of 13, the possible sentencing range could include natural life in prison.
Having been informed of those possible penalties, Garcia still elected to waive his right to a preliminary hearing and entered a plea of not guilty and requested a trial by jury.
Judge Reif set Garcia’s next court date for June 6th at 9 a.m.