Jersey County State’s Attorney Ben Goetten said he is glad to see justice served with Rodney Bailey, a former Southwestern School District board president, serving prison time after a sentencing last week.

Ben GoettenBailey, 41, of Medora, was sentenced for four years in prison this past week after a guilty plea to sexually abusing a minor nearly 18 years ago. He pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of the victim who was under 13 at the time. He was charged last August with three counts of the crime for incidents that dated back to 1997.

Bailey also served as junior varsity basketball coach and was the Southwestern Middle School boys’ basketball coach. He owned a dental office. Authorities said the victims were not connected to his role with the school district.

Goetten said this particular case was one of the more difficult he had encountered since starting in the state’s attorney’s role.

Goetten said there was a considerable amount of preparation that went into Bailey’s sentencing.

“I credit investigator Pat McGuire of the Illinois State Police for the work he put in,” the state’s attorney added. “He always does an excellent job. He did all the interviews in the case. He put an excellent case on my desk and we worked together through the plea up through sentencing.”

In typical cases, Goetten said this type of abuse leaves lasting impact. The state’s attorney said he believes the case was eye opening in terms of entrusting the safety and welfare of children, even in a small community.

“To be in a tradition of trust like Rodney Bailey was in and to breach that trust, I believe he got what he deserved,” Goetten said. “The talk about all the good deeds and passage of time and this all coming to a head at sentencing, I don’t think that is right to take that in consideration. It doesn’t make up for what happened.”


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