A Bourbonnais woman arrested nearly 14 years after her indictment in McHenry County on molestation claims is asking a judge to dismiss the charges, arguing that authorities violated her constitutional rights by waiting so long to bring her to court.
In court documents filed this week, the defense for Michelle Abbeduto says the Sixth Amendment places a duty on authorities to “make a diligent and good faith effort to locate and apprehend a defendant and bring him to trial.”
McHenry County authorities, the defense contends, violated that duty by allowing 13 years and eight months to pass between the time Abbeduto was indicted in April 1996 and her Dec. 30 arrest.
Abbeduto, 33, faces charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, attempted aggravated criminal sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of a child and unlawful restraint stemming from incidents between her and a 14-year-old girl in February 1996.
The incidents, authorities said, occurred when both were living at the now closed Forest Academy for Young Women in Wonder Lake. If found guilty, Abbeduto would face a maximum three to seven years in prison.
Her attorney, Senior Assistant Public Defender Richard Behof, notes in court papers that Abbeduto lived in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services for more than a year after the indictment, never resided outside Illinois and received Social Security benefits between 1998 and 2005 – all making her relatively easy to locate, had someone looked.
The long delay, the defense argues, violates Abbeduto’s right to a speedy trial and harms her ability to defend herself against the charges.
McHenry County State’s Attorney Louis Bianchi said his office is reviewing the case in preparation for a response to the motion to dismiss.
A hearing on the motion is scheduled for March 23.
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