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State

New sheriff in Rock Island County has familiar name

Bustos interim after sheriff pleads guilty to sending harassing texts, then resigns

Former Rock Island County Sheriff Jeffrey Boyd hugs his wife, Ann, after he resigned from office Thursday. Boyd entered a plea that allows him to assert his innocence while admitting the evidence the prosecution would present would likely to persuade a judge or jury to find him guilty, to attempted official misconduct based on attempted cyberstalking, according to Illlinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Former Rock Island County Sheriff Jeffrey Boyd hugs his wife, Ann, after he resigned from office Thursday. Boyd entered a plea that allows him to assert his innocence while admitting the evidence the prosecution would present would likely to persuade a judge or jury to find him guilty, to attempted official misconduct based on attempted cyberstalking, according to Illlinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

There could be two Bustoses on the ballot in November in Rock Island County.

Gerry Bustos became the county’s interim sheriff Friday when he was sworn in after the resignation of Sheriff Jerry Boyd. Bustos, 54, is the husband of U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline.

Boyd has resigned after pleading guilty Thursday to sending harassing texts to a woman he met at a gym t2 years ago, prosecutors said.

Boyd ended his candidacy for re-election and agreed to give up his pension, according to a release from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office and court documents. Boyd, a Democrat who took office in 2010, had been unopposed in the election, according to the county clerk’s website.

In taking over the office Friday, Gerry Bustos, 54, told the Quad-City Times that he never had an interest in the job but said he would at least carry out Boyd’s term, which ends Dec. 1. It is possible Bustos’ name also could be placed on the Nov. 4 ballot for sheriff, which would add a full 4-year term to his obligation.

“I hope to serve until the next election,” he said.

His wife is on the ballot in the 17th Congressional District. She is being challenged by Republican Bobby Schilling of Colona, who lost the seat to Bustos in 2012.

Boyd, who met the woman in 2012, committed what the release called “attempted cyberstalking,” repeatedly sending texts to the woman after she told him to “leave her alone,” according to his plea agreement.

Prosecutors said Boyd began sending the unwanted text messages in February or earlier, and, according to his plea agreement, he “should have known” that what he was doing “could cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress.” Boyd tried to use his position as sheriff “to intimidate and harass” the woman, who is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, according to the release.

One June 6, Boyd sent the victim a threatening message in Spanish, using an expletive and a slang term for prostitute to refer to the woman and telling her, “Who I am is not important what is important is what you have done and what you are? Doing.” Boyd made “a threat against the victim in an anonymous text message, putting the victim in fear for her safety,” according to the release.

“Mr. Boyd was elected by the people of Rock Island to serve as its top law enforcement officer, but unfortunately he attempted to use his position to intimidate and stalk his victim,” Madigan said in the release.

Boyd pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted official misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor that carries a sentence of up to 364 days in jail, and was given an agreed-upon sentence of 1 year’s probation, according to the plea agreement and court records. As a condition of his probation, Boyd is barred from having any contact with the woman.

Illinois State Police investigated the case, which was prosecuted by the attorney general’s public integrity bureau, according to Madigan’s office.

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