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McHenry man stands trial on child sex abuse charges

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

Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of a 60-year-old McHenry man accused of having sexual contact with a child in 2017 in McHenry County.

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 into the allegations.

Officers arrested Barnard in January 2018 after receiving a report that Barnard had inappropriate contact with a child who was younger than 13 years old. The alleged abuse reportedly took place in November 2017 somewhere in Lake in the Hills, McHenry County court records show.

All of the public documents filed in Barnard’s case were sealed on Tuesday and were not available for public viewing. Sealing documents in juvenile sex abuse cases is a common practice, which is intended to protect the child’s identity. The child’s gender has not been disclosed, nor whether Barnard somehow knew the child and if so, in what capacity.

If convicted of the most serious offense, which is aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a minor, Barnard could be sentenced to between three and seven years in prison.

Barnard’s defense attorney, Henry Sugden, previously has said that Barnard suffers from a brain injury.

The trial is expected to resume on Wednesday morning at the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock.

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