Crime Brief

Man receives probation for having inappropriate contact with 15-year-old girl in Crystal Lake

Oddey Helms, 40, of Oklahoma, was sentenced Thursday on two counts of misdemeanor domestic battery

A McHenry County judge on Thursday sentenced an Oklahoma man and former U.S. Marine to probation for inappropriately touching a female relative in 2018.

Oddey Helms, 40, was released from the McHenry County Jail Thursday following his sentencing on two counts of misdemeanor domestic battery. He’s required to serve two years of probation, which he will be allowed to complete in Oklahoma.

Helms also must undergo a psychological evaluation and comply with any recommended treatment, McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt ordered. Helms is additionally barred from consuming drugs and having any contact with the victim while he serves his probation sentence.

The judge also ordered Helms to 52 actual days in jail, which is considered complete based on the time Helms already has served.

Wilbrandt ruled on April 15 that Helms was guilty of domestic battery charges stemming from allegations that he had inappropriate contact with the girl, then 15, in 2018. Helms was acquitted of additional sexual abuse charges since the judge could not say with certainty that the acts were committed for “sexual gratification.”

The now-adult female relative had prosecutors read aloud a written statement in court Thursday on her behalf. In her letter, the young woman described the ongoing nightmares and anxiety she feels in connection with Helms’ 2018 actions and the distrust it has caused her to feel toward others.

“I no longer feel like I can open up to those around me,” the woman wrote.

McHenry County sheriff’s deputies arrested Helms at a Crystal Lake hotel in 2018 after receiving a report that he sexually abused a juvenile relative.

Helms had arrived from Oklahoma uninvited for Thanksgiving at an estranged family member’s house in Crystal Lake and asked to stay for several nights, the relative’s mother testified at trial. She told Helms to leave after her then-juvenile daughter disclosed the abuse.

“No child should ever have to experience what she experience,” McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Miller said.

At a sentencing hearing Thursday, Helms’ attorney, Francisco Botto, asked for a less restrictive sentence. According to the attorney, Helm has an “extensive record of good behavior” and acts as the primary caregiver to his ailing grandmother.

Helms’ friend and sister also testified over Zoom on his behalf. The pair described Helms as an honest person and “someone you can count on.”

“He has characteristics that I want my sons to have,” Helms’ sister Brandy Bratt said.

Miller asked that Helms undergo a sexual offender evaluation, but the judge did not order one. Wilbrandt did, however, clarify that he would not consider lifting the no-contact order until Helms has completed a psychological evaluation.

Miller called Helms’ mental health an “unacknowledged elephant in the room.”

“The ignoring of these problems has shattered (the victim’s) world,” Miller said.

Although the woman said she’d like Helms to receive help, she also doesn’t want him “to ever contact (her) again.”

“I want him to do that far away from me,” she wrote.

A portion of Helms’ posted bond – $2,500 – will be held for the woman’s future counseling services, should she seek them.