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Man Acquitted of Rape

By BRANDON COUTRE, NORTHWEST HERALD - bcoutre@nwherald.com

WOODSTOCK – A jury on Thursday acquitted a Lakemoor man of rape and battery charges that prosecutors accused him of committing against an acquaintance in 2005.

Prosecutors said that Charles Jennings, 29, committed the acts at his home while the 24-year-old woman, whom he had a prior relationship with, was drunk.

The two were at an area bar, and the woman drank so much that she threw up multiple times, said McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Donna Kelly.

“Jennings drove her home, and [she] went up to the office area on the couch, and she laid face down,” Kelly said. “He ripped off her underwear and proceeded to rape her.”

But Hank Sugden, Jennings attorney, said Jennings was sober that night and that he removed the woman’s pants because she had urinated in them.

Sugden called it a “he said, she said” case.

“The evidence submitted by the state is ludicrous,” Sugden said. “The only thing that we can all agree on in this case is that [the victim] was drunk. She went out that night to get drunk, and she did a good job of it. She did not know what took place that night.”

Kelly said that the victim told Jennings “no” and tried to push him away. Kelly said that afterward, Jennings pushed the victim into a bathroom wall and that marks in the drywall provided evidence of the attack.

Sugden alleged that the woman’s story was fabricated to use in a civil legal proceeding against Jennings.

“I don’t doubt that there was an altercation that night and it wasn’t right,” Sugden said. “But nothing took place of a criminal nature against my client.”

If he had been convicted, Jennings faced up to 15 years in prison.

Located in Crystal Lake, Illinois, the lawyers at Madsen, Sugden & Gottemoller, Attorneys at Law, represent clients in McHenry County, including the communities of: Crystal Lake, McHenry, Waukegan, Woodstock, Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Cary, Elgin, Dundee, Barrington, Harvard, Marengo, and Johnsburg.

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