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Paxton Man Arrested, Charged with Sexual Abuse of Jail Inmate

October 13, 2010

Urbana, Ill. – A Ford County, Ill., correctional officer made his initial appearance in federal court this afternoon in Urbana before U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal. Phillip Santefort, 41, of the 200 block of West Orleans Street, Paxton, Illinois, was arrested this morning. On Oct. 5, a federal grand jury returned the one-count indictment charging Santefort with sexual abuse of a person in official detention; however, the indictment had remained sealed pending the defendant’s arrest and appearance in federal court. Santefort was released pending trial which has been scheduled on Dec. 13, 2010, before Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey.

The indictment alleges that between June 9, 2009, and Sept. 17, 2009, in the Ford County Jail, Santefort, while a correctional officer, engaged in a sexual act with a jail inmate.

If convicted, the offense carries a statutory penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The charge was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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