Tag Archives: Elburn Herald

Convicted sex offender may be retried

by Martha Quetsch
Thomas L. Maurer, of Elburn, convicted in 2004 of soliciting sex from a teenage girl, may be retried in Kane County Circuit Court, the 2nd District Illinois Appellate Court ruled March 12.

The decision reversed a 2008 Circuit Court ruling that denied Maurer’s petition for a retrial.

In May 2006, Maurer petitioned the court to withdraw his 2004 plea and conviction, claiming medication he took for Parkinson’s disease at the time of the crime caused a lack of impulse control.

In January 2008, Kane County Judge Grant Wegner denied Maurer’s petition. Dr. Albert Stipes, a forensic psychiatrist, had testified that the medication Maurer was taking at the time of the crime, Requip, caused his sexually deviant behavior. Stipes said the symptom was not a known side effect of the medication until a Mayo Clinic study made the connection in 2005.

Judge Wegner declared that Stipes’ testimony was “suspect” because the defendant did not exhibit many of the characteristics attributed to hypersexuality. Wegner ruled that the outcome of Maurer’s 2004 case would not have changed even if the information Stipes presented had been available at that time.

The defendant, who since his conviction has been a registered sex offender, appealed the case to the Appellate Court.

The Appellate Court ruling stated the justices do not believe that (Maurer’s 2004 guilty) plea was truly voluntary. It also stated that the evidence showed Maurer was suffering from impulse control side effects of Requip at the time of his offense, effects which were not known at the time of his guilty plea.

Maurer, 67, was convicted in 2004 on one count of indecent solicitation of a child and sentenced to 24 months of specialized sex offender probation. He was arrested for the offense five years ago during a police sting operation in the 1400 block of Covington Court in St. Charles, where he had arranged to meet a 14-year-old girl, who actually was an undercover adult officer.

When he committed the crime, Maurer had been married for more than 40 years, had two grown sons and no criminal history, said Phillip Montgomery, his attorney at the time of his guilty plea. Maurer retired at age 55 because of Parkinson’s symptoms, and had been a part-time photographer for the Elburn Herald at the time of his arrest.

In February 2006, Maurer’s probation officer filed a notice of a probation violation; he said Maurer requested photographs from a child in an online juvenile chat room.

You are invited to the new www.elburnherald.com

Regular viewers of our website, www.elburnherald.com, noticed that following a brief “beta” period, the upgraded version of our website went live on Jan. 29.

Now that we have had a full week to work on the site, we are excited to hear the feedback from our readers.

The focus of the changes were to improve the site’s functionality and design while streamlining its navigation. In other words, we hope our website users notice that it is more attractive to look at, easier to use, with more ways to use and interact with it.

We invite the community to take an active part in adding content to www.elburnherald.com. In the past, the process for public comment was time consuming and indirect-the Elburn Herald would publish a story, the reader would read it, and he or she would have the opportunity to submit a letter to the editor for publication in a future edition. Now, users of www.elburnherald.com can comment directly on each individual story, and have their comments posted within minutes of hitting “submit.”

We look forward to seeing our website users become an active part of the community discussion. It is a wonderful addition to our website to be able to turn a largely one-sided communication process into a multiple-party conversation.

Additionally, we have vastly improved the www.elburnherald.com’s search and archiving features. Content can be more easily found with our robust search feature, and past stories can be accessed in any number of ways, from viewing all stories written by a specific staff member to all stories referencing a certain individual or subject matter. Content can be sorted based on what is the most popular, what has the most user comments, among other types of search/sorting features.

Not only is it easier to find the specific content you want to see, but we are able to publish even more of our content online as well.

You will see updates more often and more rapidly, as the navigation improvements occurred on our end as well; those make it much easier, and therefore more timely, for us to publish content online.

Now that we have gone live with the new site, we invite you to visit www.elburnherald.com, navigate around and let us know what you think. Feel free to comment directly on any story you see while you are there.

The overall purpose of the site, and its continued upgrades over the past several years, is to continually try to bring you an improved, easier-to-use product that helps build on your connection with our community.

Now that the foundation of our new site is fully built, we will be able to make changes and add features easily. We invite the public to help us continue to improve and add to the site.

Please provide your feedback to web@ elburnherald.com.

Most importantly, we hope you enjoy the new www.elburnherald.com, because we enjoyed making it for you.