PC Betty sex charges

Daniel Betty, 27, of Decatur, arraigned Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, on charges of of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and grooming alleging that on Oct. 6, he had sex with a 14-year-old girl in the back seat of a car in Champaign.

Listen to this article

URBANA — A Decatur man who allegedly had sex with a teen in Champaign that he met via social media is being held in the Champaign County Jail.

Daniel Betty, 27, was arraigned Tuesday on charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and grooming that were filed last week. A warrant had been issued for his arrest then; he was jailed Monday and appeared before Judge Adam Dill on Tuesday.

The charges allege that on Oct. 6, he had sex in the back seat of a car with a 14-year-old girl in Champaign, and on the same day, he persuaded her to send sexually explicit photos of herself to him via her phone.

Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony carrying penalties upon conviction ranging from probation to three to seven years in prison. Grooming is a less serious Class 4 felony. The penalties for it range from probation to one to three years behind bars.

Assistant State’s Attorney Will Lynch told the judge that Betty met the girl through a social-media app called “Spot-A-Friend” and told her initially that he was 17.

The two sent nude photos of themselves to each other, the prosecutor said, then made plans to meet Oct. 6 in Champaign.

Lynch said as Betty was on the way to the rendezvous, he sent the girl a text telling her that he was actually 19. He picked her up near West Side Park, just west of downtown, Lynch said, and the two rode around in a car for a while before getting in the back seat and having sex.

The matter came to the attention of Champaign police detectives on Oct. 10 after the teen told a mandated reporter what had happened and that person contacted authorities.

Sgt. Dennis Baltzell said police had to get search warrants for the phone records and figure out who the alleged offender was.

On Tuesday, Betty asked Dill to appoint a public defender for him, but the judge declined after seeing that he has a job in Decatur and can apparently afford his own attorney.

Asking that Betty’s $100,000 bond be reduced, Assistant Public Defender Matt Ham said Betty has been diagnosed as suffering from manic-depressive and attention deficit disorders. He is the sole supporter of himself and his wife and is trying to go back to school, Ham said.

Dill declined to lower the bond and told Betty to be back in court with his own attorney Dec. 6.

Reporter

Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).