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McHenry County trial of man charged in 2017 with sexually abusing two girls delayed due to COVID-19

For a second time this year, the trial of a man who was on McHenry County’s Most Wanted list when he was arrested in Canada in 2017 and accused of sexually abusing two young girls has been postponed due to COVID-19.

Robert J. Gould, 56, was set for jury trial Monday, but a prosecutor in the case reported she has been in close contact with a family member diagnosed with COVID-19 and has concerns she may have contracted it, Assistant State’s Attorney Tyler Mikan told McHenry County Judge Michael Coppedge in court Thursday at what was supposed to be a pretrial conference.

Shaking his head, Coppedge said this is the “unrelenting reality of the real world” today.

The trial was postponed earlier this year because Gould had contracted the virus, his attorney Dominic Buttitta said.

Gould is charged with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child younger than 13, a Class 2 felony; eight counts of criminal sexual assault, a Class 1 felony; and 10 counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, a Class X felony, according to the criminal indictment filed in the McHenry County courthouse.

Class X felonies typically carry sentences of six to 30 years and are not probational. If convicted on all charges, Gould faces life in prison.

Gould, who is out of jail on bond and living with family in McHenry County and wearing an ankle monitor, is accused of abusing the girls beginning in 2001.

His attorney is expected to present the testimony of expert witnesses about false memory during the trial.

At the time of his arrest, Gould was considered a fugitive while living in Higginsville, Nova Scotia, where he was detained by Canadian authorities Sept. 1, 2017.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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