HENNEPIN – Roger Bolin remains the public defender in Putnam County, and he expects to continue in that role, he said Thursday in the wake of recent revelations of his being charged in a prostitution sting in neighboring LaSalle County.
Bolin appeared as scheduled here Thursday, when the docket listed him on three cases on the one day a week that the small county regularly has court. In his highest-profile current case, he secured a substantial bond reduction for a man charged in connection with a seven-hour police standoff with police last winter.
Bolin declined to comment later on his own three misdemeanor charges stemming from alleged interactions with a female informant posing as a prostitute on April 4. But he indicated that he expects to remain in the part-time position that he has held for more than 20 years.
“Yes, I do,” he said without elaborating.
Bolin, 65, was one of nine men charged as a result of a three-phase investigation led by the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office and the Tri-County Drug Enforcement Narcotics Team, Sheriff Tom Templeton said in a news release last week. All have been charged with solicitation of a sexual act, while Bolin alone has also been charged with battery and attempted solicitation of a sexual act.
Bolin’s solicitation charge alleges that he offered money to a woman called “Nicky” to perform a sex act, and the battery count alleges that he grabbed her shoulder and attempted to pull her toward him, according to the formal charges filed May 10 by State’s Attorney Karen Donnelly. The attempted solicitation charge alleges that he discussed rates for sex acts with her in phone calls before meeting her at a pre-arranged location.
Solicitation and battery are Class A misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine, while attempted solicitation is a Class B with maximum penalties of six months in jail and a $1,500 fine.
The nine men were interviewed by police but not immediately arrested after the incidents occurring on March 14 and April 4 in Ottawa and Peru, reports indicate. All were mailed notices last week to appear in court May 31.
In contrast to Bolin’s stated intention to stay in his position, one public official charged in the sting resigned Monday, several news organizations reported. Sandwich Mayor Richard A. “Rick” Sanders resigned in a letter that was read at a City Council meeting that he did not attend, according to the (Dekalb) Daily Chronicle.
“My hope and prayer are that, by my resignation, I will spare any additional dishonor to that office,” the paper quoted Olson stating in the letter.
Bolin has been an attorney since 1980, is in good standing, and has no public record of past discipline or pending proceedings, according to the website of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. In addition to his public defender duties, for which the county budget lists a salary of $37,124, he practices privately in the Hennepin firm Boyle & Bolin, where he is currently the only attorney.
The firm bears the name of local legend Walter Durley Boyle, who was state’s attorney for 40 years, continued to practice privately into his 90s, and was known as a generous philanthropist. Resident Circuit Judge James Mack, retired Judge Scott Shore, and State’s Attorney Christina Judd Mennie are among other lawyers who have practiced there at some point in their careers.
Also charged in the sting was James G. Schaefer, 53, of Peru, who is vice-president of operations and physician services at Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru. A hospital spokesperson declined to comment on the charge or whether he was still employed, according to the Daily Chronicle.
The other men charged were Raul Barajas, 40 of Peru; Joseph P. Hanley, 57, or Earlville; Dustin A. Meredith, 29, of Streator; Richard Paradotti, 55, of Peru; Wiley M. Sawyer, 18, of Waterman; and Alphonso T. Thompson, 33, of Streator.
Gary L. Smith can be reached at (800) 516-0389 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Glsmithx.