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Crystal Lake teen a candidate for first offender program

Published: Saturday, May 25, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – A Crystal Lake student accused of planting a pinhole camera in a boy’s locker room is a candidate for and likely will be accepted into the county’s first offender program, the McHenry County State’s Attorney Office said.

Luke Patrick Gildea, 17, of Crystal Lake was charged in March with one count of unauthorized video recording, a Class 4 felony, and one count of unauthorized video recording of a victim under 18 years of age, a Class 3 felony.

The more serious charge, the Class 3 felony, typically is punishable by up to five years in prison. But if Gildea is accepted into the program, and finishes successfully, no conviction would be on his record.

“Many other similarly situated 17-year-olds have had the opportunity to apply for the program,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs, chief of the criminal division. “He’s a candidate because he has no criminal record. We’re giving the opportunity to a 17-year-old not to have a felony conviction on his record.”

Gildea, a junior at Crystal Lake Central High School, is accused of placing a pinhole camera – one that can be disguised as part of ordinary objects – in the boy’s locker room at the high school. According to the criminal complaint, the camera videotaped subjects as they entered and exited the shower.

Combs said there is no evidence those images ever were disseminated.

McHenry County’s first offender program is designed for those arrested on a nonviolent felony charge for the first time. If defendants are accepted, they could see the felony charge dismissed after they finish community service or counseling, repay the victim or fulfill other specific punishments.

The defendant admits to the crime before being accepted into the program, so if Gildea fails, for example, his case would be sent back to felony court.

Combs and State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi have been personally meeting with parents of students who were videotaped, and said the overwhelming majority have been supportive of the decision.

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