URBANA – The resentencing hearing for a former Champaign middle school dean convicted of indecent solicitation of a child was unable to be completed Wednesday because he was hospitalized.
Brady Smith, 47, of Urbana, however, authorized his attorney by phone to go ahead with the prosecution's witnesses against him.
Smith's attorney, Kevin Sullivan of Peoria, told Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Dobson and Judge J.G. Townsend that Smith was hospitalized at Methodist Medical Center in Peoria Tuesday night and that he saw Smith hooked up to an intravenous fluid line and an electrocardiogram machine. Smith was later admitted, Sullivan said, adding he had no idea how serious Smith's condition was or how long he might be hospitalized.
Dobson, who had out-of-town witnesses prepared to testify in aggravation against Smith, asked that the witnesses she had present Wednesday be heard. Townsend did that, then agreed to Sullivan's request that the hearing be completed later because Sullivan said he wants Smith to testify.
Townsend set a scheduling hearing for Monday to determine when the resentencing can be finished.
In November 2001, Smith, former dean of students at Franklin Middle School in Champaign and a Unit 4 employee from 1994 to 2001, was sentenced to three years of probation after Townsend found him guilty in a stipulated bench trial of trying to get a 14-year-old boy to have sex with him in May 2001.
In April, Townsend revoked Smith's probation after hearing that Smith had firearms ammunition in his home. Convicted felons are not allowed to possess firearms or ammunition. He faces penalties ranging from more probation to three to seven years in prison on the solicitation charge, a Class 2 felony.
Wednesday, Sullivan asked Townsend to reconsider the probation revocation, arguing that Smith did not know the ammunition was present in his home and believed that it may have belonged to a foster son who had lived with him earlier. It was found in a box in a storage closet along with other items.
The ammunition was discovered by Macon County probation officers on a preannounced visit in August, but it wasn't until February that the state filed a petition to revoke Smith's probation based on that. The state also filed a new charge of unlawful possession of weapons by a felon, which is tentatively set to be tried this month, but it's unlikely the case will be reached because of the volume of other felonies set for trial.
Dobson said the state was not immediately informed of the ammunition by the Macon County probation officers and when it was learned, the ammunition had to be submitted to the state crime lab for examination.
Townsend denied Sullivan's request, saying only that he felt the state had produced sufficient evidence to establish that Smith knowingly possessed the ammunition.
Dobson then called Smith's former Macon County probation officer, a Macon County sex offender counselor and two Champaign police officers to testify. Macon County was asked to supervise Smith's probation because prior to his Unit 4 employment he was a Champaign County probation officer for 10 years. Townsend wanted to avoid any conflict of interest in Smith being supervised locally.
Ronald Oakes, a member of the Macon County probation office's sex offender supervision unit, and Terry Campbell, the counselor who runs therapy sessions for the sex offenders on probation, both said Smith regularly attended group counseling sessions but that he declined to say much about his own case, citing his fear that it could be used against him in an upcoming federal civil trial that is pending against Smith and Unit 4 in U.S. District Court in Urbana. That case is not likely to be heard before September .
Both Oakes and Campbell said that Smith admitted to them that he was having contact with teen-age boys, a clear violation of the rules of his probation. But Smith told Oakes and Campbell that the teens often stopped by his house unannounced for visits or called him and that he had told them they couldn't just stop by.
Campbell said in counseling that Smith has acknowledged his criminal conviction for the sex crime but has never taken responsibility for his actions.
"It's always been that way," said Campbell, saying that was the case as recently as a group-therapy session two weeks ago.
Also testifying were Champaign police officer Ed Wachala and detective Robb Morris, both of whom interviewed four black teen-age boys who told them that they had been to Smith's house while he was on probation.
None of the youths reported any sexual contact with him, just personal or phone contact, the officers testified.
Sullivan said he plans to call Smith and one other witness when the hearing resumes.
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