Mahomet man jailed in sexual abuse case

URBANA — A Mahomet man accused of sexually molesting young girls in his home is being held in the Champaign County jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.

Richard T. Phares, 42, who listed an address in the 500 block of Randolph, was criminally charged Monday with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving inappropriate contact with two girls in late 2010 and 2011.

Champaign County sheriff's investigator Dwayne Roelfs said he began investigating Phares in early March when one of the girls told someone at school what Phares had allegedly done to her and authorities were contacted.

Roelfs said he interviewed several young girls under the age of 13, some of whom told him about Phares allegedly touching them at the swimming pool at the Candlewood Estates Mobile Home Park and others who told of contact at his home.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz said two girls told authorities that Phares touched them, showed them pornographic magazines, and gave them homemade sex toys. She said Phares told police that he showed the girls "pictures of the female anatomy" and pictures of sex toys for "educational purposes" but denied giving the toys to the girls.

Roelfs said he is continuing to investigate other allegations against Phares.

Phares was arrested Saturday and arraigned Monday on the Class 2 felony charges that carry penalties ranging from probation to three to seven years upon conviction. He was ordered to have no contact with the girls and to be back in court June 26.

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