NPD Chief: Investigators receive “additional information” in sex abuse case against Unit 5 teacher

Hovey
Jonathon Hovey faces multiple counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse for alleged sex acts against a pair of his first-grade student at Glenn Elementary School in Normal. (Photo McLean County Sheriff’s Office)

 

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 kderosa@normal.org.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at howard.packowitz@cumulus.com

Blogs

Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…