SYCAMORE – A local attorney who pleaded guilty Wednesday to prostitution was sentenced to court supervision, community service and HIV and STD testing.
Reema Bajaj, 26, of the 100 block of Penny Lane in Sycamore, was arrested May 31, 2011, on three prostitution charges. She pleaded guilty to one count of prostitution, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, during a hearing at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore.
Police said Bajaj's arrest followed an investigation into an unrelated case where detectives discovered emails sent between Bajaj, a suspect in an unrelated case and a DeKalb man. Spangler said the emails were explicit regarding the arrangements and led to two counts of prostitution from Aug. 13, 2010.
Those counts contend Bajaj offered to perform a sexual act for $100 – a Class A misdemeanor – and that the act was committed within 1,000 feet of a school – a Class 4 felony punishable by up to three years in prison.
Police said the reported liaison took place at a residence in the 500 block of East Taylor Street in DeKalb, and until August 2010, Bajaj routinely had engaged in prostitution at that location. The May 10, 2011, charge stems from Bajaj reportedly offering to perform a sexual act for $50 – also a Class A misdemeanor.
Attorneys for Bajaj and Charles Colburn, the Springfield-based appellate prosecutor who took over the case earlier this year, met with Presiding Judge Robbin Stuckert last month to discuss facts regarding the charges and sentencing.
Colburn said Wednesday during the hearing that the felony charge of prostitution against Bajaj was dismissed because despite the aggravating factor that the prostitution took place in an apartment building near a school, school was not in session at the time and children were not present. Therefore, he said, the misdemeanor charge was most appropriate.
After the hearing, Colburn said the 2010 incident was the stronger case. He said he is commonly appointed to prosecute attorneys, law enforcement officers and others that are charged with crimes, though he's not sure why he was appointed almost one year after Bajaj was charged.
Bajaj was sentenced to two years of court supervision, 50 hours of community service and $2,500 in fines and costs. She must undergo a psychological evaluation and obtain HIV and STD testing, and must provide proof of having done so to the court, Stuckert said.
The two other charges against Bajaj were dismissed. Colburn said the incident has been presented to the Illinois Supreme Court's Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, which will address it.