- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

WOODSTOCK, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois appellate court, citing uncharged and unproved allegations, overturned the conviction of a McHenry County man accused of spanking the uncovered rear of a 12-year-old boy he was mentoring in a Big Brothers-Big Sisters program.

Leonard W. Puccini, formerly of Bull Valley, was convicted of sex abuse during a May 2013 bench trial. During the trial, prosecutors said he spanked the boy for sexual gratification. He was sentenced by McHenry County Circuit Judge Michael Feetterer to five years in prison.

During Puccini’s trial, two witnesses testified the 54-year-old Puccini had sexual encounters with them when they were young boys.

The Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake reported Tuesday (https://bit.ly/1xFrvSV) the appellate court ruled Feetterer was wrong to allow the testimony, saying Puccini was “convicted based on the uncharged, unproved and remote allegations, rather than the evidence supporting the charged crime.”

The court ruled Sept. 5 prosecutors lacked proof beyond a reasonable doubt, bringing double jeopardy into play, meaning Puccini can’t be retried.



Prosecutors can appeal the court’s decision. However, Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs wouldn’t comment Monday on his office’s next move.

Puccini has been serving time at Graham Correctional Center. He was eligible for parole in April 2016, but could be released soon, said defense attorney Kathleen Zellner.

___

Information from: The Northwest Herald, https://www.nwherald.com

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