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Local

Wauconda firefighter suspected of sex abuse

WAUCONDA – A veteran Wauconda firefighter has been charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said.

Donald Berthiaume, 41, was charged Wednesday with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in connection with an alleged incident in 2005.

Berthiaume allegedly had inappropriate sexual contact with a girl who was under the age of 13, according to a news release. She later reported it to the Lakemoor Police Department.

Berthiaume, a 13-year veteran of the Wauconda Fire District, has been placed on paid administrative leave while the fire district board and fire commissioners gather more details about the allegation.

“We’ll let this thing unfold a little bit, and we’ll try to learn more,” Fire Chief Dave Dato said.

Berthiaume volunteered with the district before becoming a full-time firefighter-paramedic nine years ago.

Dato urged the public to let the justice system play out.

“We’re deeply troubled by the allegations,” he said. “We’re taking it very seriously and we’re very cooperative with law enforcement.”

Berthiaume was released from custody after posting 10 percent of a $50,000 bond.

The investigation is ongoing.

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