Crime & Courts

McHenry man accused of sex abuse deemed unfit to stand trial, released from jail

Thomas R. McAuliffe, 61, of McHenry
Thomas R. McAuliffe, 61, of McHenry

After spending the past five years in and out of the McHenry County Jail, a Wisconsin prison and an Elgin mental health center, a man who was found unfit to stand trial on multiple sexual abuse charges was released Friday from the McHenry County Jail.

Thomas R. McAuliffe, 61, of McHenry, spent the past year in an Elgin mental hospital, where mental health professionals worked to restore his fitness – or help him gain the mental competency – to stand trial.

Although he never officially was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Illinois, he was determined in 2018 to be “not not guilty.” That finding essentially means there might have been enough evidence to convict McAuliffe if the case had gone to trial.

However, since McAuliffe can’t be “made” mentally competent enough to participate in his own defense, and because he doesn’t meet the state’s criteria to involuntarily receive mental health treatment by being committed, he was released from the jail about noon Friday.

He still will be required to register as a sex offender in both Illinois and Wisconsin, where he was convicted of similar allegations.

McAuliffe was arrested in 2013 after two children who are family members told police they had been sexually abused by McAuliffe numerous times between 2009 and 2012.

About a month after his arrest in Illinois, McAuliffe faced additional sexual abuse charges in Kenosha County, Wisconsin. He pleaded guilty Oct. 16, 2014, to first-degree child sexual assault and was sentenced to five years in a Wisconsin prison and 15 years of parole.

The last year of his sentence was spent in the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services while he received treatment in connection with the McHenry County charges.

McAuliffe’s family was present in court Friday morning when McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt signed the order securing the former McHenry man’s release.

McAuliffe will spend the next 15 years finishing his Wisconsin parole term.

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