Crime & Courts

Former Woodstock man convicted of rape who met victims on Craigslist seeks new trial

Man said an appellate attorney failed to properly argue his appeal

Charles Oliver
Charles Oliver

WOODSTOCK – A former Woodstock man convicted of hiring prostitutes on Craigslist and raping them in his “sex dungeon” has asked a McHenry County judge for a new trial.

Charles Oliver, 49, remains at the Lawrence Correctional Center in Sumner, where he continues to serve a 16-year prison sentence for select charges that went before a jury.

In February 2014, Oliver was found guilty of criminal sexual assault and unlawful restraint in what was expected to be the first of eight trials. One month later, he pleaded guilty to two additional sex crimes, and the remaining charges were dropped. McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather subsequently sentenced him to 36 years in prison.

Oliver’s former defense attorney, Mark Facchini, has since been appointed a McHenry County associate judge.

Before trial, Facchini made two requests to quash the search warrants police used to obtain evidence in the case. Those requests were denied Feb. 13, 2014.

Oliver tried to appeal his convictions, but the appellate court ultimately upheld Prather’s ruling in 2016.

Now Oliver is seeking a new trial, alleging that his constitutional rights were denied by an appellate attorney who failed to properly argue his case.

McHenry County Assistant Public Defender Angelo Mourelatos has been appointed to represent Oliver on the request. In an amended petition filed Thursday, Mourelatos argued that Oliver’s appellate attorney only raised one of several problems that supported Oliver’s appeal.

“Reviewing the record, it is clear that appellate counsel did not act the role of an advocate when preparing [Oliver’s] direct appeal,” Mourelatos wrote.

Prosecutors at the time said Oliver responded to women’s ads online and would agree to meet them for sex in exchange for money.

Oliver then would force the women into a room in his basement, which one victim described as a “sex dungeon,” according to a motion filed by prosecutors in November 2013.

In the motion, Oliver was accused of recording many of the assaults, calling women his “property” and telling them “no one would hear [them] scream.”

Shortly after the jury announced its verdict, Facchini filed a motion that raised eight problems regarding the introduction of evidence that the attorney said prevented Oliver from getting a fair trial.

In handwritten petitions, Oliver also has argued that police didn’t have a strong enough case to obtain the search warrants that eventually turned up multiple videos of unidentified women at Oliver’s home.

In the videos, he is physically rough with the women and threatens them, according to statements made by the state’s attorney’s office in 2013 court filings.

The McHenry County State’s Attorneys Office has 45 days to respond to the petition.

Prather denied Mourelatos’ request that Oliver be present for the case’s next court date April 23.

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