By Howard Packowitz
NORMAL – Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner believes authorities, who investigated Glenn Elementary School teacher Jonathon Hovey 14-years ago for child molestation, would have charged him back then if they had sufficient evidence.
A first grader, who’s now 21, accused Hovey of inappropriately touching her in the classroom in 2005. No charges were filed, and Hovey resumed his teaching career with Unit 5.
“If we were able to develop a case to where we could make an arrest, and make a charging decision from the state’s attorney’s office in 2005, we would have done that. We weren’t able to,” said Bleichner.
Police arrested Hovey last Friday after another child came forward, alleging Hovey molested her in the classroom more than 50 times.
Authorities said both alleged victims claimed Hovey positioned his desk to prevent other children from seeing the abuse.
Bleichner said the public has provided some tips since Hovey’s arrest, but the department has not determined there are other victims.
“We asked for the public’s assistance, with the help from the media. Since that time, we have received some calls with what I would say is additional information. I’m not saying there are additional victims or we have additional investigations, but we have received additional information that our investigators are following up on at this time,” said Bleichner.
A Unit 5 spokesperson said Hovey taught 18 years at Glenn until he was placed on paid administrative leave when the latest accusations came to light in April.
Authorities are asking anyone who believe they may have had inappropriate contact with Hovey to call Normal Police Det. Kendra DeRosa at 309-454-9624. Det. DeRosa can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Howard Packowitz can be reached at email@example.com