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Charges filed against man accused of abusing developmentally disabled woman at state-run facility

Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center is pictured in Anna.

SPRINGFIELD – A state employee charged last month with molesting a child now faces a charge of aggravated criminal sexual assault of a patient at the state-run Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in Anna.

Union County State’s Attorney Tyler Tripp charged former Choate mental health technician Charles W. Mills, 58, of Jonesboro on Thursday. Mills is accused of sexual assault that occurred on March 19, 2020, against a person, identified in the charges as E.K., who has a severe or profound intellectual disability and was unable to give knowing consent.

Capitol News Illinois reported on the allegations last week before the latest charges had been filed.

Mills tendered his resignation but it does not go into effect until March 15, Department of Human Services spokeswoman Marisa Kollias said last week.

According to the Illinois comptroller’s state employee pay database, he received a paycheck as recently as Monday and was paid $41,000 in annual salary in 2021 despite spending the entire year on administrative leave while under investigation.

Four state agencies, including the Illinois Attorney General, DHS Office of the Inspector General, the Department of Children and Family Services and two Divisions of the Illinois State Police were investigating Mills for the two instances of sexual misconduct.

Mills continued to be paid despite those allegations, submitting his resignation in February only after he was arrested on the unrelated child molestation charges. In that case, he faces four felonies for molesting a child younger than 13 years old.

The child molestation allegations date back to 2020 and were investigated by the Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigation. The actions were not related to his state employment.

The allegations against Mills for his assault of a patient at Choate were investigated by Illinois State Police Division of Internal Investigation.

An allegation of abuse or neglect made by a disabled person inside a state facility goes first to the DHS Office of the Inspector General. A preliminary investigation is conducted by the OIG and facility’s security.

Based on that investigation, a determination is made whether the allegation is credible, then whether the alleged infraction is administrative or criminal. If the OIG determines the allegation is criminal in nature, the Illinois State Police Division of Internal Investigations is contacted to conduct a criminal probe.

It is unclear when the internal investigation into the sexual assault at Choate occurred and when the State Police investigation began.

In an unrelated case, two top administrators at Choate face criminal charges for obstructing an Illinois State Police investigation into abuse allegations at the facility.

Center director Bryant Davis and administrator Gary Goins were indicted in June 2021 on official misconduct charges. Court documents filed in Goins’ case on Monday stated that Goins, then the quality assurance manager at Choate, accessed confidential investigative files and directed staff to speak to the victim before police did.

Both administrators remain on the DHS payroll.

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Capitol News Illinois

Capitol News Illinois

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit news service operated by the Illinois Press Foundation that provides coverage of state government to newspapers throughout Illinois. It is funded by donations from the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. The mission of Capitol News Illinois is to provide credible and unbiased coverage of state government. Capitol News Illinois provides year-round, daily coverage of the Legislature, including committee hearings; state agencies and issues; state office holders; and the Illinois Supreme Court and legal matters.

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