Legal Ethics

Ethics Panel Too Lenient with Ex-Prosecutor Accused of Improprieties with Teens, Editorial Says

A former elected prosecutor in Illinois deserves more than a two-year suspension for improprieties with two underage women, a newspaper editorial asserts.

A three-member hearing board of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission is recommending the suspension for former Rock Island County State’s Attorney Jeff Terronez, the Quad-City Times reports. A Quad-City Times editorial blasts the recommended punishment as too low. The ARDC continues to push for disbarment in an appeal.

Terronez admitted he provided alcohol to two underage women, exchanged inappropriate text messages with one of them, and drove them to Champaign, Ill., where they stayed in his suite of hotel rooms during a prosecutors’ conference, according to the hearing board report. Torronez had prosecuted a high school teacher on charges of sexually abusing one of the two young women, the teen with whom he traded text messages.

In some of the messages, Terronez, who was married, said the teen was “incredibly cute” and he “couldn’t think straight” after seeing a picture of her in her cheerleading uniform. Terronez has maintained he was only teasing.

In a related criminal case, Terronez pleaded guilty last year to buying alcohol for a minor and was sentenced to two years of probation.

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