CHARLESTON -- A man pleaded not guilty on Thursday to a charge accusing him of sexually assaulting a woman while providing massage services at his Mattoon home.
Amado Hernandez, 42, entered the plea to a charge of criminal sexual assault that accused him of digitally penetrating the woman while performing a massage on her on Aug. 26.
Police records in the case say the woman was visiting a relative in Mattoon who arranged the massage. An online search of state massage licenses didn't show a record of a license for Hernandez, however.
Hernandez was also charged with possession of a controlled substance, as police say they found a sedative and similar prescription drugs during the search of his residence. He also pleaded not guilty to that charge on Thursday.
Defense attorney Evan Bruno entered the not guilty plea on Hernandez's behalf after indicating he would waive his right to a preliminary hearing on the charges.
That meant Coles County Assistant State's Attorney Jenifer Schiavone didn't have to present evidence for a judge to rule on whether there was sufficient reason for the case to continue.
Circuit Judge James Glenn and the attorneys then agreed on an Oct. 2 hearing to check the status of the case. Hernandez is free on bond.
The case records say the 20-year-old woman told police that Hernandez had her completely disrobe during the massage. She said she felt pressured to comply because he said that was a regular part of the service, the records say.
They also say the woman told police she was at first "paralyzed with fear" when Hernandez began touching her genital area and he said it was a normal part of the service.
The woman said Hernandez continued after she told him to stop, and the massage didn't end until the woman's relative returned, the records say.
During an interview with police, Hernandez admitted the drugs found were his and said he had prescriptions at the time he obtained them, according to the records. He refused to answer questions about his actions during the massage, however.
A conviction for the sexual assault charge would require a prison sentence of four to 15 years. The drug possession charge wouldn't require prison time with a conviction though a one- to three-year prison term would be possible.
Contact Dave Fopay at (217) 238-6858. Follow him on Twitter: @FopayDave