WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. — Former Racine County Register of Deeds Tyson Fettes, who is a Burlington Town supervisor, has been indicted in connection with a sex-trafficking operation that was uncovered in Rockford, Ill.
Fettes was indicted along with 27 others.
Fettes, 33, is charged with two Class 4 felony counts of patronizing a prostitute and two Class A misdemeanor counts of soliciting a sexual act.
As part of the indictment, Fettes was charged with an additional Class 4 felony — entering a place of prostitution with the intent to solicit a sex act.
In Illinois, Class 4 felonies are punishable with up to one to three years in prison, and the maximum sentence for a Class A misdemeanor is up to one year in jail.
The Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s office confirmed Friday that Fettes appeared in court Thursday afternoon, and the judge set a status hearing date for Oct. 1.
It does not appear that any action was taken during that appearance.
Last week, Fettes said he intended to plead not guilty to the charges.
“I ask that the public withhold judgment until the case is processed through the justice system,” Fettes said in a text last week to The Journal Times. “I’m working closely with my attorney to ensure the facts are all brought to light and a proper result is achieved.”
Online court records list the violation dates as Dec. 1, 2018, and March 29; however, those dates have not been confirmed by Fettes’ attorney, who was unavailable for comment on Friday.
Between March 9 and May 29, Rockford, Ill., police investigated two lingerie shops there — Chantilly Lace, 106 Seventh St., and Exclusive Lingerie Boutique, 77 Seventh St., Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross said during a news conference Aug. 20.
The investigation resulted in the arrest of the owner of Chantilly Lace, 57-year-old Peggy D. Smith, who was charged with 12 counts of promoting a place of prostitution. Smith will also appear in court on Oct. 1.
During the news conference, Hite Ross read the names and birth dates of 27 men, including Fettes, who were facing charges for soliciting and patronizing prostitutes stemming from two alleged separate encounters with different prostitutes between March 9 and May 23.
If convicted, Fettes would be ineligible to serve on the Burlington Town Board, or any other elected position, according to Wisconsin state law.
The Burlington Town Board said Monday that it planned to withhold action until the legal system runs its course.
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