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CHARLESTON -- A man received the maximum probation sentence possible when he admitted to a sex act with a teenage girl.

Jon W. Berry, 23, for whom records list an address of 1301 Lafayette Ave., Apt. 3, Mattoon, pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

The charge accused him of having sex with the girl on Nov. 7, when she was between the ages of 13 and 18 and Berry was at least five years older.

With the agreement reached in his case, Berry was sentenced to four years of probation for the conviction that also could have resulted in a prison term of three to seven years.

Also with the agreement, the charge was reduced so it no longer required a four- to 15-year prison sentence.

The plea agreement will be contingent on the results of an evaluation to determine if Berry is a candidate for sex offender treatment.

Coles County Circuit Judge Brien O'Brien scheduled a hearing for Aug. 20 to review the results of the evaluation.

Probation requirements included no future contact with the girl and payment of just more than $600 in fines and court fees.

O'Brien also ordered six months of jail time but it was stayed. That means Berry won't have to serve it now but some or all of it could be ordered later as a sanction in case of violations.

The judge based the sentence on a plea agreement that State's Attorney Brian Bower and Assistant Public Defender Jesse Danley recommended.

In other cases in court before O'Brien recently:

  • James C. Farris, 40, whose address on record is 320 N. 16th St., Mattoon, pleaded guilty to a charge of failure to register as a sex offender.

Farris was sentenced to three years in prison for admitting he didn't notify police that he used a false name to create a Facebook account in June of last year.

A charge alleging he also created a second account with another false name was dismissed.

Prison time wasn't required but Farris faced a sentence of up 10 years, twice the usual maximum possible. That was because of his criminal record, which included an earlier failure to register conviction for which he served prison time.

Farris was required to register information with police because of his conviction in a 2001 aggravated criminal sexual abuse case, for which he also received a prison sentence.

O'Brien based the sentence on a plea agreement that Assistant State's Attorney Tom Bucher and Danley recommended.

  • Royal T. Williams was sentenced to 2 1/2 years of probation for failing to renew his sex offender registration last year.

Williams, 62, for whom records list addresses of 2413 Broadway Ave., Mattoon, and in Graysville in southern Illinois, pleaded guilty in April.

He admitted that he didn't renewed his registration, required because of a White County conviction, which police reportedly discovered during a stop for a traffic violation.

When Williams pleaded guilty, a charge accusing him of having methamphetamine at the time of the traffic stop was dismissed.

O'Brien based the sentence on recommendations from Bucher and Danley.

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Contact Dave Fopay at 217-238-6858. Follow him on Twitter: @FopayDave.


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