SYCAMORE – Shawn Thrower, longtime owner of Shawn's Coffee Shop, charged with biting and inappropriately touching a 15-year-old female employee, has hired a new lawyer ahead of his expected trial Oct. 15.
Thrower was set to appear for a status hearing at 9 a.m. Thursday morning at the DeKalb County Courthouse in front of Circuit Court Judge Joseph Pedersen, and while he did not make at appearance himself, his new lawyer, defense attorney Liam Dixon, appeared on his behalf. His former lawyer was Amanda Wielgus.
The hearing Thursday also saw DeKalb County State's Attorney Neil Michling file a motion of discovery, meaning the state's attorney's office is attempting to assess who Dixon will be putting forward to testify during Thrower's bench trial, a trial where witnesses are called in front of a judge but no jury presides.
When asked whether the trial date still stands for Oct. 15, Dixon said, "Yes, for now."
Another status hearing is set for 10 a.m. Oct. 2.
Thrower, 61, also owns Princess Alex Ice Cream in Sycamore and is charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery after police say he bit the girl on her neck, picked her up and smacked her buttocks, according to DeKalb County Court records. If convicted, he could face up to a year in jail, and fines up to $2,500. He plead not guilty on March 9.
The mother of the victim spoke publicly to the Daily Chronicle last month, speaking out in the hope that her daughter's story will empower others to use their voice. DeKalb County court records paint a picture of Thrower's behavior, which the 15-year-old girl told police made her uncomfortable. She also said she felt he was showing her favoritism. Court records from Sycamore police interviews with the victim allege Thrower would frequently pick the girl up while hugging her, and text her, calling her "queen," "baby" and "his girl."
The day of the incident, Feb. 27, the girl snuck up on Thrower from behind a refrigerator to scare him, and then he pinned her against one of the mixer tables and started biting her neck while she attempted to push him away. When she wiggled away, Thrower grabbed her and smacked her across the buttocks multiple times, the teen told police.
Thrower's charges and court proceedings have led to strong reactions from the public, including several protests held by local activists standing up for Thrower's alleged victim. Others have expressed strong support of Thrower, patronizing his businesses during the protests and condemning those who spoke out against him.
In an interview with the Daily Chronicle, Thrower said "There's two sides to every story," and said the trial would bring more details to light.