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Crime & Courts

Prosecutor: Gym instructor may have abused 25 to 30 children

Joseph R. Hannon, 21, of the 1700 block of DeKalb Avenue, Sycamore, was charged Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, with aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Joseph R. Hannon, 21, of the 1700 block of DeKalb Avenue, Sycamore, was charged Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, with aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

SYCAMORE – A local man who worked at Energym Gymnastics may have inappropriately touched 25 to 30 children at the gym’s facilities in Sycamore and Genoa, a DeKalb County prosecutor said Thursday.

Joseph R. Hannon, 21, of the 1700 block of DeKalb Avenue in Sycamore, was charged Thursday with a single count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in connection with an incident that occurred Nov. 25 at Energym, 1715 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore. If convicted, he could face three to seven years in prison.

Police in both Sycamore and Genoa continue to investigate Hannon, who is a convicted felon, and are asking anyone who may have been a victim to call the departments.

“This is still a very active and ongoing investigation,” First Assistant State’s Attorney Stephanie Klein told a judge during bond hearing Thursday.

Klein pointed out to Judge Philip Montgomery that Hannon also was on probation for a felony drug-dealing charge at the time of the alleged crimes.

In October 2013, Hannon was charged with selling Xanax within 1,000 feet of a senior housing complex in DeKalb. He eventually pleaded guilty to an amended charge of possession of a controlled substance, a Class 4 felony, and was sentenced to two years of nonreporting probation and 50 hours of community service.

Klein asked that bond be set at $500,000. She said that Hannon had intentionally emptied his bank account after finding out he was under investigation. Hannon would have to post $50,000 bail to be released.

DeKalb County Public Defender Tom McCulloch, who was appointed to represent Hannon, said that Hannon had lived in the area for more than five years and that bond could only be set in the case that Hannon had been charged with, not potential charges that haven’t been filed.

The judge set bond at $500,000. He cited Hannon’s criminal record, which included several misdemeanor offenses, and that he was on felony probation in connection with a 2013 drug case at the time the alleged crime occurred.

Hannon told the judge that he made $1,800 a month working at Energym and lived in an apartment owned by Energym owner Andy Morreale. As an employee, he paid a discounted rent of $600 a month. Hannon told the judge that he was no longer an employee of the gym and would likely not be allowed to live in the apartment, which is near a number of child-focused businesses including the gym, Iddy Biddy Pool School, Sylvan Learning and a day care facility.

Hannon told the judge that it was unlikely he’d be able to post the $50,000 bail. However, the judge ordered that if released, Hannon live with his parents in DeKalb and not have any contact with the alleged victim or anyone else younger than 18.

While on felony probation for the 2013 drug case, Hannon tested positive for marijuana May 28, 2015. He failed to submit two other drug tests and was recommended for a more structured probation program. He also committed several other misdemeanor crimes.

In August 2013, Hannon was arrested for trespassing on railroad property. In March 2015, he was arrested for stealing a cassette adapter from Wal-Mart in DeKalb and in August 2015 he was arrested for resisting a police officer and possession of less than 2.5 grams of marijuana.

The Sycamore Police Department is working with the Genoa Police Department, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and staff at Energym, Police Chief Glenn Theriault said. He said the gym’s owner and staff, and all the agencies are being “highly cooperative.”

Anyone concerned that their child might have been victimized should call the Sycamore Police Investigations Division at 815-895-3435 or the Genoa Police Department at 815-784-2526.

“We have a lot of concerns because of the number of children who used the facilities,” Theriault said.

Morreale, the owner of Energym Gymnastics, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

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