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Prosecutor doesn't want sheriff involved in Amboy investigation

Sacco-Miller says Varga statement concerned her

Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 3:29 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 10:36 p.m. CDT
Lee County State's Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller

AMBOY – Lee County State's Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller said Tuesday that she doesn't want her office or the Sheriff's Department involved in the investigation of a confrontation between Amboy's mayor and an alderwoman.

She said she would remove her office because her husband, Tony Miller, is a member of the Ward, Murray, Pace & Johnson law firm, which represents the city of Amboy. And she said she doesn't want the Sheriff's Department involved because "some issues" exist between that department and Amboy police. She wouldn't say what those issues were.

Last Friday morning, Sacco-Miller said she had the results of the investigation from the Sheriff's Department and had determined there wasn't enough evidence to proceed with criminal charges in an incident involving Mayor Tom Nauman and Alderwoman Deanne Hoy.

After a meeting with Hoy later that day, Sacco-Miller reversed course, deciding to ask the state police to further investigate the case. She said the state police would send its report to the attorney general.

Hoy accused the mayor of striking her on one arm during a confrontation outside an Amboy restaurant as they talked about a water issue. Nauman has yet to say publicly whether Hoy's accusation is true. City Council members are steering clear of the controversy.

In a March interview, Sheriff John Varga confirmed Hoy had told his department that the mayor had grabbed or touched her during a quarrel. He gave no other details.

In an interview, Sacco-Miller said Varga's statement concerned her.

"He should have waited until the investigation was complete and seen if there was anything criminal," she said. "We have ethical obligations that we don't publish anything before. Our obligations are to protect the public and people's rights. You don't want to accuse someone until you find there is some criminal wrongdoing. Publicizing the investigation impedes it."

In her meeting with Hoy, Sacco-Miller said the alderwoman raised some good points and asked that the state's attorney allow state police to investigate.

"I'm not saying that there's anything that comes out of this," she said. “At least it's passed on to a fresh set of eyes."

Varga said he told Sauk Valley Media only that his department was investigating the matter. He said his department followed normal procedure, responding to a call, investigating it, and sending a report to the state's attorney's office.

"I don't know what she [state's attorney] is talking about," the sheriff said. "We took the report, and she never asked us to do anything further."

Nauman couldn't be reached for comment.

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