Attorney General Madigan: Terronez Guilty, Resigns
Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced Rock Island County State's Attorney Jeff Terronez will resign effective today after pleading guilty to the unlawful delivery of alcohol to a minor this morning in Rock Island Circuit Court. Terronez's resignation and guilty plea are the result of an Illinois State Police (ISP) investigation into allegations of misconduct involving a minor. The court appointed the Attorney General as a special prosecutor under seal to handle the case upon completion of the investigation by the ISP.
"The people of Rock Island County elected Mr. Terronez and entrusted him to protect their communities and prosecute those who violate the law," Attorney General Madigan said. "Unfortunately, he used his position of power to engage in an extremely unprofessional and inappropriate relationship, thereby forfeiting that public trust. As the special prosecutor in this case, my office sought a criminal conviction and demanded Mr. Terronez's resignation."
Terronez, 39, of East Moline, Ill., today pled guilty to one count of unlawful delivery of alcoholic liquor to a person under 21, a Class A misdemeanor. As a condition of his guilty plea, Terronez immediately resigned his post as the Rock Island County State's Attorney and pledged never again to seek public office. As additional conditions of his plea, Terronez withdrew from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, thereby forfeiting his public pension. He will also serve the maximum 2 years probation and pay the maximum $2,500 fine.
On a referral from the East Moline Police Department, ISP began investigating allegations that Terronez had purchased alcohol for a minor in August 2010. Terronez came to know the minor involved in this matter because she was the victim in a criminal case that Terronez prosecuted. ISP completed its investigation and furnished the evidence to Attorney General Madigan's Criminal Enforcement Division, which had been appointed the case's special prosecutor under seal on Oct. 29, 2010.
"Mr. Terronez abused the most sacred relationship a prosecutor can have, that between the prosecutor seeking justice and a victim of crime," Madigan said. "His resignation is the first step in restoring the county's trust in its justice system."
As appointed by Judge O'Connor, Chief Judge of the 14thJudicial Circuit, Madigan's office served as the special prosecutor. Senior Assistant Attorney General Bill Elward, Assistant Attorney General Steve Nate and Division Chief Rick Schwind handled the case for Madigan's Criminal Enforcement Division.