Salem Police say a 19-year-old Salem man was arrested for predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and three counts of child pornography following an investigation started by a tip received by the Internet Crimes Against Children.
A search warrant was executed by Salem Police and a task force member from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department on the home of Dustin Peach of South Lackey last Thursday. Among the items seized from Peach’s home was his phone. It allegedly contained three photos of a sex act being committed against a child under the age of three.
After questioning, Salem Police say Peach admitted to committing a sexual act with the child in the photos and was taken into custody.
Police say the photos were allegedly taken in December when Peach was babysitting the child to which he had no relation. Peach is expected to make his first appearance in court on the charges on Friday.
Christopher Brown (left) and Cory Jones (right). Marion County Jail photos.
Two of the three charged with a burglary broken up in progress at a home on the Route 161 Extension in rural Iuka last December have pleaded guilty to burglary charges in Marion County Court.
39-year-old Christopher Brown of 4th Street in Xenia was sentenced to three years in prison to be followed by two years of parole. He was also given credit for 27 days served in jail.
31-year-old Cory Jones of Kinmundy Road in Louisville was sentenced to four years probation, credit for 27 days served in jail and ordered to undergo alcohol and drug evaluation and treatment.
Charges are still pending against the third person arrested. 39-year-old Melissa Schnepper of West 6th in Flora faces charges of possession of meth and possession of contraband in a penal institution charges in addition to burglary.
The three allegedly fled the home in a vehicle on the Route 161 Extension after they were found inside the home that had been ransacked and several items were stolen. They were later stopped by a Xenia Police Officer on Old US 50 between Xenia and Flora.
One person was taken to Salem Township Hospital for treatment of injuries following a two-vehicle crash late Thursday afternoon on Route 37 at the Townhouse Road intersection north of Salem.
Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies say 49-year-old Christy Hester of Edgewood was traveling northbound on Illinois Route 37 when she failed to stop for a vehicle waiting to make a left hand turn onto Townhouse Road. The vehicle she struck was driven by 42-year-old Kevin Rose of Townhouse Road in Salem.
Hester was taken by United Medical Response to Salem Township Hospital for treatment of injuries. Rose refused hospital treatment.
Hester was ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.
The Salem Fire Protection District was called to the scene, but they report no extraction was needed.
The crash occurred at 4:38 Thursday afternoon.
There was no damage reported when a trash fire got away and burned four acres before being brought under control.
Kell Fire Chief Lonnie McDaneld says the fire was at the Charles Waterstradt home at 32032 North Stratford Lane in rural Texico. The fire call came in at 2:36 Thursday afternoon. Firemen were on the scene for just over a half-hour.
The Salem Grade School Board heard an update Thursday night on the number of COVID-19 cases as well as the start of a catch-up program at Franklin Park School. Superintendent Dr. Leslie Foppe says the number of staff out with COVID is down from the 11 the week school resumed following the holidays.
“We only have 4 staff out. That is good. We do have 129 students who are quarantined, of those kiddos 3 are positive.”
Foppe says 42 students at Hawthorn are on full remote for the second semester and 49 at Franklin Park.
With the shortage of substitutes, Foppe reported she is putting together a survey of area schools to determine what they are paying substitutes. She notes Salem Grade School has not increased the $80 per day pay in five years. Foppe will also look at an increase in the $11 an hour pay to substitute paraprofessionals and cooks. Foppe will bring the information to the February board meeting where she is hoping some adjustments can be made.
Franklin Park Assistant Principal Alex Koebele reported a catch-up program has been started for Franklin Park students who failed two or more classes in the first and second quarters. He reports 26 are currently attending the program that is held each Wednesday afternoon from two to three. Teachers and aides are assisting students with issues in the problem classes and getting homework completed.
Franklin Park Principal Tyler Lux reported two traditional programs will be held but in a way to be compliant with COVID-19 mitigations. A canned food drive is scheduled for February 22nd to March 5th. But instead of collecting can goods, monetary donations will be sought instead for the Salem Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry. A Red Cross Blood Drive has been scheduled from two to six pm on February 25th in the Franklin Park Gym.
In personnel action, the board accepted with regret a letter of retirement from District Secretary Betty Purcell. She will be leaving the district after 27 years at the end of June. Danette Wolfe was hired as an eighth-grade science teacher for the coming year. Kacey Puricelli was hired as Franklin Park Secretary for the next school year. The board accepted the resignations from Nicole Cain, Angela Brubaker and Randa Walsh who were all working as paraprofessionals.
The Marion County Health Department is reporting 20 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and no additional deaths.
Of the 20 new cases, none were long-term care residents and one was a student not in class during their infectious period. The Health Department found 14 of the cases are from community spread and six from household or close contacts.
There are now 409 active cases. 25 are hospitalized. Three of those are on vents. There were no additional cases released from isolation Thursday.
The Clinton County Health Department is reporting 25 new positive cases. There are now 372 on home isolation and five who are hospitalized.
The Jefferson County Health Department is reporting 29 new cases. 213 are currently in isolation.
The Fayette County Health Department is reporting 20 new cases on Thursday.
The Wayne County Health Department is reporting three new cases. 96 are currently in isolation and three are hospitalized.
Statewide, there were 4,979 new cases on Thursday and 123 additional deaths.
The statewide positivity rate for the past seven days is 5.4-percent. The Southern Illinois Region positivity rate is at 5.4-percent. The Marion County rate increased to 3.3-percent. The Metro East positivity rate increased to 8.4-percent. The East Central Illinois Region positivity rate has fallen to an even six-percent.
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