Crime & Courts

Former McHenry man receives probation for licking girl's face

James Barnard, 60, of McHenry
James Barnard, 60, of McHenry

A former McHenry man with a brain injury was sentenced to probation Wednesday for licking a young girl's face in 2017.

A jury acquitted James. J. Barnard in January of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and instead convicted the 51-year-old Round Lake Beach man of a misdemeanor domestic battery charge. After considering Barnard's limited criminal history and brain trauma from a 2013 crash, Judge Robert Wilbrandt sentenced Barnard to 1 1/2 years of probation.

As a condition of his sentence, Barnard is barred from having any unsupervised contact with minors and cannot possess pornographic material. He also must continue to undergo counseling and take medication as prescribed by his doctors, Wilbrandt ordered.

Lake in the Hills police arrested Barnard in January 2018 after receiving a report that he licked and inappropriately touched a then-11-year-old relative.

At a sentencing hearing Wednesday, Barnard's attorney Henry Sugden argued his client experienced a cognitive and behavioral changes after he was involved in a Jan. 31, 2013 crash. Sugden also presented letters of evaluation from Barnard's doctors, who noted Barnard now experiences a heightened sex drive and reduced impulse control as a result of a traumatic brain injury.

"It's because of this change," Sugden said in court Wednesday. "It's not because he's a sex addict or a sex pervert."

The three alleged instances of abuse occurred on Nov. 1 and Nov. 28, 2017, prosecutors said at the trial.

Barnard denied sexually abusing the girl and testified that he only gave her a kiss goodbye and a back massage at the time of the allegations.

Although the victim used to have a close relationship with Barnard, she since has grown "terrified" of him, McHenry County Assistant State's Attorneys Mary Ann Scholl and Taylor Nesbit said Wednesday. Prosecutors accordingly asked that Barnard undergo sexual offender evaluation and treatment as part of his sentence.

Wilbrandt, however, determined the evaluation wasn't necessary in light of the restrictions already placed on Barnard during probation.

"I am of the opinion that Mr. Barnard's mental health issues go way beyond that. I believe they are a function of his traumatic brain injury," Wilbrandt said.

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