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Feds now involved in county sexual abuse case; Omnibus Hearing continued to March 5

Cook County Courthouse.jpg
Cook County Courthouse.jpg

The Omnibus Hearing for a 36-year-old man facing a number of charges alleging sexual conduct with young girls has been continued to March 5

Assistant Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken and defense attorney John Lind agreed to the continuance Wednesday afternoon for Joel Ray Allard of Grand Portage. During the 10-minute hearing before Sixth District Judge Michael Cuzzo, it was disclosed that the US Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are also investigating charges against Allard.

After the hearing, Hicken said that Allard is the only subject of her office’s investigation.

Hicken told the court that federal law enforcement is now involved in the case which her office began investigating last year. She said the FBI’s investigating agent believes a federal grand jury will vote an indictment for Allard within the next few weeks. A federal indictment would take precedence in the case although Hicken said the state could continue its case once the federal case is resolved.

The assistant county attorney requested that Allard remain in county custody unless the federal system gets involved. She also asked that the Omnibus Hearing be continued for six weeks to give federal officials the time to act.

Under questioning from defense attorney Lind, Allard said he understood the involvement of federal authorities. Lind said he expected the federal case to have “quite rapid” movement. 

Lind also said that his client was waiving his request for a speedy hearing. He said that if Cook County intends to actively prosecute the case that the proper discovery process continue with evidence to be made available by the county attorney. Cuzzo asked Hicken to continue with the discovery process as necessary and she agreed.

Hicken said that she will be meeting with FBI agents at the end of January. She also said she expects to be contacted shortly by the US Attorney and if she doesn’t she will contact the Attorney’s office.

Lind noted that at the previous hearing in December, he thought it was indicated more state charges could be coming. Hicken replied that the only additional charges contemplated at this time are ones over which federal authorities would have jurisdiction.

Judge Cuzzo set the continuation of the Omnibus Hearing for Wednesday, March 5.

Allard is facing two counts of felony criminal sexual predatory conduct, two counts of felony conduct, two counts of felony false imprisonment, two counts of gross misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct and one count of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree. The charges involve three girls under the age of 13.