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Crime & Courts

Solicitation of sex cases for ex-Sandwich mayor and others continued

1 pleads guilty to charge

OTTAWA – The court proceedings against former Sandwich Mayor Richard A. “Rick” Olson on charges of soliciting sex from a woman he thought was a prostitute has been continued into July.

Olson, 66, Sandwich, was charged along with eight other men with solicitation of a sexual act, as the result of a sting operation conducted by the La Salle County Sheriff’s office in March. The crime is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500, and probation or up to a year in jail.

He appeared in court Friday without an attorney, Court proceedings were continued for Olson and other defendants on Friday. Olson is next due in court at 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 10.

Olson was a longtime police officer who served as Sandwich’s police chief for 16 years. He was elected mayor in 2013 and was in the middle of his second term when he resigned shortly after charges were made against him.

Also charged in the operation was Illinois Valley Community Hospital’s Vice President of Operations and Physician Services James G. Schaefer, 53, of Peru, and a Putnam County public defender Roger C. Bolin, 65, Hennepin. Bolin was also charged with battery.

Schaefer’s case was continued to 9 a.m. July 31, and Bolin’s case was previously continued to 9 a.m. June 26.

Nine men were charged in all in connection with the operation by the La Salle County Sheriff's Office, which used a female informant posing as a prostitute for most of them. Websites were used to set up meetings at hotels in Ottawa and Peru.

One of those charged, Dustin A. Meredith, 29, of Streator, pleaded guilty Friday and was fined $500 by La Salle County Judge Cynthia Raccuglia.

Others charged with solicitation of a sexual act as a result of the operation include: Raul Barajas, 40, Peru; Joseph P. Hanley, 57, Earlville; Wiley M. Sawyer, 18, Waterman; Richard Peradotti, 55, Peru; Alphonso T. Thompson, 33, Streator.

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