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Ottawa man faces life in prison if convicted of two sexual assaults

An Ottawa man accused of sexually assaulting two children was admonished Wednesday he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Michael W. Hughes, 38, made his first La Salle County court appearance Wednesday, a day after Ottawa police picked him on a warrant alleging the sexual assault of two children, a boy and a girl, on separate dates in 2021.

He is charged with two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault a Class X felony. Ordinarily, Class X felonies carry mandatory prison sentences of 6-30 years in prison.

However, Judge Cynthia M. Raccuglia advised Hughes his charges carry an elevated range of 6-60 years, with no shot at probation. Additionally, Illinois law requires offenders who sexually assault two or more children to serve sentences of natural life.

Raccuglia approved Hughes’ request for the services of the public defender and ordered him to return March 3 for arraignment.

Ottawa police said they were alerted Sunday to a juvenile who had possibly been sexually assaulted. After “numerous” interviews on the alleged offenses, which were reported to have occurred in 2021, an additional juvenile victim was identified.

Hughes was developed as a suspect and La Salle County State’s Attorney’s Office filed charges. Court records allege the offenses took place June 20 and Aug. 1, 2021.

Hughes needs to post $100,000 cash to be released from La Salle County Jail.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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