A decision by Illinois Democrat Brendan Kelly as state's attorney to allow a 51-year-old man charged with criminal sexual abuse of two 14-year-old girls to walk free with just probation is spotlighted in the latest attack ad against him.
Kelly, running in Illinois' 12th district, has already been criticized by the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC for his tendency to reach plea deals as the state's attorney for St. Clair County. Its latest attack features a former police chief in the county taking issue with one particular plea deal Kelly reached in 2017 with Todd Bramblett, who was charged with three felonies stemming from sexual touching of two young girls.
"On Kelly’s watch over 50 percent of the crimes in his jurisdiction were pled out," retired police chief Nick Gailius says in the ad, which was shared with the Free Beacon Tuesday evening and can be viewed below. "Kelly even cut a plea deal with a pedophile who sexually assaulted two 14-year-old girls allowing the predator to walk free."
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A review of court documents from the case show Bramblett was charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a class-two felony, and one count of criminal sexual assault, a class-one felony. The charges stemmed from two incidents—one in August 2013, in which the sheriff said he "placed his hand on the vagina" of a 14-year-old girl "for the purpose of the sexual arousal or sexual gratification," and another two years later in November 2015 where he "placed his hand on the breast" of a different 14-year-old girl for the same purpose.
In April 2017, Kelly reached a plea agreement with Bramblett, who pled guilty to the lesser felony charges and had the more serious charge "dismissed per plea," documents show. He was allowed to walk free without any prison time and given 42 months of probation.
Bramblett is now a registered "sexual predator" living in the district Kelly is running to represent in Congress, according to an Illinois Department of Corrections database.
"Brendan Kelly put Illinois women and children at risk," Gailius says at the end of the ad.
Kelly's campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the new ad.
He previously told the local Belleville News-Democrat in an interview just after the plea agreement was reached that his decision to allow Bramblett to get off with just parole was what the victim preferred "under the circumstances." He declined to comment on the specifics of the case.
Gailius also says in the ad that "cops on the beat always knew Kelly was soft on crime."
Kelly is running to unseat Republican representative Mike Bost, who was first elected in 2014. The race is viewed by prognosticators as a toss-up.