Former mentor on trial for alleged sex abuse

WOODSTOCK – The alleged victim in a sex abuse case against his one-time youth mentor said the man was sexually aroused when he pulled down the boy's pants and spanked him.

The defense attorney said the boy is not to be believed.

Leonard Puccini, 53, of Bull Valley, is accused of sexually abusing a then-12-year-old boy he met through Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County. Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony, punishable by three to seven years in prison.

A bench trial in front of Judge Michael Feetterer began Monday.

The boy, now 16 years old, testified that the spanking happened in 2009. He said that after spanking him, Puccini went to his bedroom and the boy heard what sounded like Puccini masturbating.

In a second instance, Puccini came out of the shower sexually aroused while the alleged victim was present, Assistant State's Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein said.

Puccini's defense attorney, Steve Greenberg, said the boy was troubled and "just not credible."

Greenberg called a counselor from Youth Service Bureau to testify that in an assessment of the boy, he noted physical aggression but there was no reported sexual abuse. It wasn't until a year after the alleged abuse that the boy came forward with the allegations.

The boy's mother testified that her son's relationship with Puccini grew inappropriate during the three months he mentored him. She said she found text messages in which Puccini would tell the boy that he loved him, and he bought the child expensive gifts. She said Puccini offered to adopt the boy.

The Northwest Herald does not typically identify people alleging they are victims of sexual abuse.

The prosecution's two witnesses testified that on several occasions, Puccini would either put his hand down their pants, masturbate in front of them or masturbate them. Puccini did not meet the boys through the mentoring program.

One of the witnesses said he and Puccini lived together, and the two shared a bed for a number of years. The men came forward after learning about Puccini's arrest in the newspaper, they both said.

Puccini is not facing sex charges for those two witnesses because the statute of limitations has lapsed, said Michael Combs, assistant state's attorney criminal division chief.

There is a pending sex case against Puccini and another for computer tampering.

The trial is expected to conclude Tuesday.

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