MORRISON – A 68-year-old Fenton man deemed to be “a very low risk” to reoffend was sentenced Wednesday to four years’ probation on two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of two girls younger than 13.
Charles R. Von Holten also must register as a sexual predator for the rest of his life, pay a $10,000 fine on each charge, pay for the two girl’s counseling, up to $10,000 each, and serve 180 days on house arrest.
As part of his plea agreement, all other charges were dismissed.
Von Holten has been free on a $500,000 bond since his arrest June 7, 2018.
The girls’ family members and others who were not happy with the plea agreement – the terms of which are not uncommon for a first-time offender whose psychological evaluations find him at low risk to reoffend – attended the sentencing hearing and also waited outside the courthouse, posting protesters at all the entrances and prompting the sheriff’s department to beef up security inside and out, witnesses said.
Von Holten was charged on June 5, 2018 in Whiteside County Court with three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, punishable by 6 to 60 years in prison, and sexual assault of a child, each of which carries 4 to 15 years.
Those assaults were committed between August and May 2017, when the girl was 6, investigators said.
On Sept. 19, 2019, he was charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child younger than 13 for twice fondling a 7- or 8-year-old, which is punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison.
Those assaults occurred between June 8, 2017, and June 8, 2018.
The 2019 charges were dismissed in November 2019, however, because the state failed to show probable cause Von Holten committed the crimes.
In 2021, two new charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child younger than 13 were filed.
Wednesday’s plea agreement was for one count in the 2018 case, and one in the 2021 case, with the sentences to be served concurrently.