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Ex-Unit 5 teacher released from Nashville jail

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NASHVILLE — The former Unit 5 teacher who is facing new charges involving sexual violence against a minor was released from a Nashville jail Tuesday.

Jonathon Hovey, 49, of Forsyth, was released on a $20,000 bond with two pending charges in Nashville. He is accused of rape and sexual battery by an authority figure.

Hovey was held in Macon County for one week before being transferred to the Davidson County Sheriff's Office. He was booked in the Davidson County jail Tuesday afternoon and had bonded out by about 7:30 p.m.

According to the indictment signed by a grand jury on March 17, both offenses occurred between Nov. 24 and 25, 2018, in Davidson County, Tennessee.

The indictment indicates both charges involve minor victims, however because their names were redacted from documents obtained by The Pantagraph, it is unclear if one or more victims were involved.


Jonathon Hovey, left, with his attorney, Tristan Bullington, in front of Judge Scott Drazewski on Aug. 16, 2019, at the McLean County Law and Justice Center.

The alleged sexual battery by an authority involved sexual contact with a child between ages 13 and 18, and Hovey "used the authority to accomplish the sexual contact.”

Three officers from the Normal Police Department were listed as witnesses for the grand jury.

In August 2019, Hovey was arrested by Normal police, accused of sexually assaulting two first-grade students while he was their teacher at Glenn Elementary School in Normal.

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Police were contacted in April 2019 by a representative from McLean County Unit 5 after the mother of a student reported her child had been abused.

Hovey pleaded not guilty to those six charges — two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse — before they were dismissed in September.

A McLean County prosecutor said the unavailability of material witnesses was the reason for dropping the charges.

When asked why his detectives and officers were brought in to testify before the grand jury, Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner said during his department’s investigation into Hovey’s 2019 McLean County case, officers uncovered information that “they felt was relevant to another jurisdiction.”

Contact Kelsey Watznauer at (309) 820-3254. Follow her on Twitter: @kwatznauer.


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