Aledo teacher charged with sexual assault

Cala Smoldt |
Times Record

ALEDO — A Mercer County High School teacher was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.

Social sciences teacher Mark R. Artcher, 60, was arrested about 2:30 p.m. Thursday in a local hospital where he was being treated, according to an Illinois State Police news release.

Following his release from the hospital Artcher will be taken into custody at the Mercer County Jail. As of Friday morning, Artcher remained hospitalized. No court appearance has been scheduled.

The felony charges allege that, “on or about April 6, 2019 … said defendant grabbed the buttock of (victim) with his hand, for sexual gratification.”

The second count alleges that “on or about March and April 2019” the suspect, “placed his hand on the vagina of (victim) for the purpose of sexual gratification.” Each of the two counts names a separate child under 13 years old.

Mercer County School District Superintendent Scott Petrie said in a statement Artcher was placed on leave April 24 “after (the district) was made aware by local law enforcement of a situation involving allegations of child abuse.”

“An investigation by DCFS, multiple law enforcement agencies, and the Mercer County state’s attorney is ongoing. The district is cooperating fully in this matter. Given the active status of the investigation, the district cannot comment any further on this personnel issue,” Petrie wrote. Artcher started with the Aledo School District in the 1989-90 school year.

Class X felonies are punishable by six to 30 years in prison.

The initial investigation was conducted by Illinois State Police, with the assistance of the Aledo Police Department, Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and the Moline Police Department.

“The investigation is currently open and ongoing,” according to an ISP release. “Additional charges are anticipated upon review by the Mercer County state’s attorney.”