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McHenry man won't confront witnesses in sex abuse trial

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry man accused of sexual contact with three neighborhood girls more than a decade ago waived his right to confront witnesses in the case.

Jack Leo Smith, 74, of 2811 Myang Ave., is charged with three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, a Class X felony, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a Class 2 felony.

He's accused of abusing three neighborhood girls, 12 years old or younger, between 1995 and 1996, Assistant State's Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein said. Smith was arrested in 2010 after one of the alleged victims, now an adult, came forward. Two additional women were later identified.

If convicted of the more serious charge, Smith could be sentenced between six and 30 years in prison but is eligible for extended term sentencing of up to 60 years.

On Monday, he appeared in front of Judge Sharon Prather for a stipulated bench trial, meaning that prosecutors and defense attorneys agree beforehand on the evidence the judge will use to reach a verdict.

No witnesses are called to give testimony, and Smith elected not to testify. In a stipulated bench trial, the defendant neither admits guilt nor agrees that the facts prosecutors present are true, only that they are admissible.

Thirteen pieces of evidence were given to Prather on Monday for her review. That included photographs of clothed children, DVD recordings of the victim's statements and writings found in Smith's home. A journal found at his home included a manifesto about how children should be able to consent to sexual activity, Eisenstein said.

Smith's defense attorney, public defender Kim Messer, said Smith maintains his innocence "wholeheartedly."

"Jack Smith absolutely denies these allegations 100 percent," Messer said.

Attorneys will present closing arguments July 18.

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