PC Reed sexually dangerous

The state of Illinois filed a petition Aug. 2, 2019, to declare Gregory P. Reed, 42, formerly of Urbana, sexually dangerous based on acts he allegedly committed against children in Champaign County between 2006 and 2011.

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URBANA — The state of Illinois wants an Urbana man with convictions for sex crimes against children declared sexually dangerous in the wake of additional allegations against him.

If the state can prove that Gregory Reed, 42, suffers from a mental disorder that causes him to commit sex crimes, he could be locked up indefinitely.

On Wednesday, Judge Tom Difanis agreed to appoint two sex-offender evaluators to examine Reed — the necessary first step in the process — to see if he meets the criteria for a sexually dangerous person. Difanis set a status hearing for mid-October.

Earlier this month, Assistant State’s Attorney Joel Fletcher filed criminal charges of predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse against Reed alleging that between 2006 and 2011, he committed repeated sex acts with a girl under the age of 13 in Mahomet.

At the same time, Fletcher filed the petition to have Reed declared sexually dangerous, a seldom-used prosecutorial tool that is technically a civil proceeding but has the burden of proof required for a criminal conviction.

A check of News-Gazette Media archives shows that in Champaign County, Reed’s is about the ninth such petition filed since 1996.

The criminal charges and the petition are based on allegations that came to light in August 2018 when the victim, who is now an adult, came to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office and spelled out alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of Reed.

Reed pleaded guilty in September 2012 to aggravated child pornography and was sentenced to 10½ years.

His plea came just nine months after he had pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse and was sentenced to probation and 120 days in jail.

The sex abuse involved inappropriate contact in July 2011 with a young girl who was a visitor in his former home in Mahomet.

When he was being investigated for that, Champaign County sheriff’s detectives learned he may have had child pornography on his home computer.

The state crime lab found pornographic images of children, including videos he had taken in his home in 2010 of naked girls changing after swimming without their knowledge. However, that discovery was made after his guilty plea to aggravated criminal sexual abuse and prompted the filing of the more serious charges of aggravated child pornography.

Reed had been in prison six years for the pornography conviction when one of the then-child victims of his earlier crimes reported other allegations of sexual molestation by Reed to sheriff’s investigators on Aug. 1, 2018. Those allegations are part of the basis of the petition to have him declared sexually dangerous.

Reed has the right to a trial by a judge or jury. The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he has a mental disorder that has existed at least a year, that it causes him to commit sex crimes, that he has demonstrated a propensity to molest children, and that he’s likely to continue to do so if not locked up.

If found sexually dangerous, Reed would be committed to the Department of Corrections for care and treatment until he no longer suffers from the mental disorder.

He would have to petition the court for release and a judge or a jury would have to decide if he was cured. The burden in that proceeding is on the state to prove “by clear and convincing evidence” that he is still sexually dangerous.

Fletcher, who has handled several requests by people deemed sexually dangerous who are seeking release, said his intent is to proceed with the petition prior to prosecuting Reed on the criminal charges for the sake of judicial economy.

Historically, few who are declared sexually dangerous get out of prison because it’s difficult to convince a trier of fact that they won’t reoffend.

Lindsey Hess, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, said there are currently 157 sexually dangerous men imprisoned at the Big Muddy River Correctional Center in Ina in southern Illinois. That is the only Illinois prison that treats sexually dangerous men.

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).