Former Aledo officer pleads to misdemeanors

Cala Smoldt GateHouse Media Illinois

ALEDO — Former Aledo police officer Steven Bonynge, 34, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two misdemeanor charges in a deal struck in Mercer County Circuit Court. Two counts of felony aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving a 16-year-old female minor were amended to the lesser misdemeanor charges — attempted official misconduct and aggravated assault. The second charge, explained Special Prosecutor for the State Lorinda Lamken was because Bonynge indicated he had threatened to put handcuffs on the minor, and she didn’t want him to do that.

Terms of the agreement include 24 months of court supervision and stipulate that during that time he is not allowed to seek employment in law enforcement. He is ordered to pay court costs and restitution to the city of Aledo for almost three weeks of paid suspension and attorney costs for the city totaling $6,035.

Lamken said Bonynge signed a statement admitting that while on duty, “he committed the act, which includes driving his squad car to meet (the girl), a 16-year-old minor, and at that time had unlawful contact with her.” Lamken said the incident took place at the Mercer County Fairgrounds around February or March 2013. Charges were filed mid-December 2015.

Commenting on behalf of Bonynge, his defense attorney William Gullberg said this was the way it should have gone from the beginning.

“It keeps his life intact and it was a good resolution to this case,” Gullberg said.

The resolution comes over a year after the case was put on hold for appeal after Judge Richard Zimmer granted Bonynge a motion to suppress evidence in May 2015. Special Prosecutor for the state was Michael Vujovich at the time said, "He (Judge Zimmer) has substantially impaired our ability to proceed with prosecution."