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Prosecutor opts for civil trial for Sycamore man accused of rape

SYCAMORE – The man accused of raping a woman, with help from his fiancée, no longer will go to trial next week. Instead, the special prosecutor on the case filed a motion for him to be tried in civil court, and for him to be committed to state prison.

Thomas Broughton, 26, formerly of the 400 block of East State Street, along with his fiancée, Ashley Zick, both face sexual assault and unlawful restraint charges, punishable by three to seven years with a conviction.

Although Zick’s case will proceed in criminal court, special prosecutor Lorinda Lamken filed a motion to try Broughton in civil court as a sexually dangerous person, thus ending the criminal proceedings.

Lamken said many people committed as sexually dangerous people spend decades in jail, and that there is a case set for trial next week for a client who’s been committed since 1997.

Broughton still needs to go to trial to be found guilty as a sexually dangerous person – after he’s evaluated by at least two mental health professionals, who the judge will determine.

He’s been in DeKalb County jail on $75,000 bail since he was arrested in January 2017, and was sentenced to two years in prison Dec. 28 for failing to register as a sex offender. He was credited with 331 days served. He pleaded guilty in 2012 to aggravated criminal sexual abuse for inappropriately touching a 5-year-old girl and was sentenced to seven years in prison. At the time, he was represented by now-DeKalb County State’s Attorney Rick Amato.

In September 2016, Broughton was charged with failing to register as a sex offender in Sycamore. He pleaded not guilty to that charge Nov. 28. Amato, who was elected DeKalb County state’s attorney in November, asked that a special prosecutor take over the case because he previously represented Broughton.

Lamken said in the civil case, Broughton doesn’t need to be proved to have committed the crime – just that he needs to be found to be dangerous by a jury.

“This isn’t something I would file without good faith,” Lamken said.

Sycamore police began investigating the incident after receiving a complaint that Broughton and Zick attacked the woman, who police described as an acquaintance of theirs, at the couple’s apartment in January 2017.

Prosecutors said Broughton drove the 19-year-old woman to the couple’s Sycamore apartment and gave her alcohol. He and Zick then carried the woman to the bedroom and tied her hands and feet to the bed with straps. Both raped the woman multiple times despite her saying “stop” and “no,” according to court documents.

Zick admitted to the crimes and told police that the victim didn’t consent to the sexual activity, court records show.

Broughton is due back in court at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 13.

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