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McHenry man on trial allegedly licked girl's face, tried to give her "a real kiss,' child tells investigators

James Barnard, 60, of the  1800 block of Kerry Lane, McHenry.
James Barnard, 60, of the 1800 block of Kerry Lane, McHenry.

Jurors on Wednesday saw a video-recorded police interview with an 11-year-old girl whom a McHenry man is accused of inappropriately touching in 2017.

James Barnard, of the 1800 block of Kerry Lane, is charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse and domestic battery in connection with a Lake in the Hills police investigation of allegations made by the girl. Officers arrested Barnard in January 2018 after receiving a report that Barnard had inappropriate contact with the girl. The alleged abuse reportedly occurred in November 2017 somewhere in Lake in the Hills, McHenry County court records show.

Barnard’s trial continued on Wednesday with testimony from Lake in the Hills detective Tiffany Decker, who interviewed the girl at the McHenry County Child Advocacy Center in Woodstock.

During the interview, the girl told Decker that Barnard – a relative – licked her face, touched her lower back and tried to give her “a real kiss,” according to video footage of the girl’s conversation with police.

Barnard’s attorney, Henry Sugden, argued that the allegations don’t meet the legal definition of sexual conduct. If the accusations were true they could be construed as “weird conduct, but it’s not sexual conduct,” Sugden said.

Barnard’s wife of 22 years, Shannon Barnard, testified Wednesday that she never witnessed her husband act inappropriately with any underage family members.

“The kids were never afraid of him,” she said.

Barnard, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2014, would face between three and seven years in prison if he is convicted of the most serious offense, aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child.

The trial is expected to resume Thursday morning.

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