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Dozens protest outside Whiteside Co. Courthouse in response to alleged plea deal

Charles Von Holten faces eight charges after sexually assaulting two of his grandchildren. But with an alleged plea deal, he may serve no time.

MORRISON, Ill. — A Morrison family held a victims rights rally outside of the Whiteside County Couthouse this afternoon, in protest of a possible plea deal.

Charles Von Holten was charged with eight counts of sexual assault against two of his grandchildren in 2018. Von Holten is currently out on bail.

Von Holten's son, and father to one of the victims, Chad Von Holten, was one of the rally's organizers. 

"We're here protesting (because) Whiteside County State's Attorney Terry Costello has agreed to drop six rape charges and give the perpetrator probation," he said. "And we're rallying to try to get justice for these kids and kind of bring their voice forward."

According to Chad, the State's Attorney has refused to give a hard copy of the plea deal — despite the plea hearing set right around the corner.

"Verbally told us? Briefly? We've really never got a copy of it never got any formal anything. It's all oral. And I think he's doing that to try to hide the real truth behind it," Chad said.

Chad said the plea deal he's heard includes no jail time and instead, probation. He has been in a legal battle against his father over the past four years.

"You kind of get beat down a little bit. Yeah, it's the first year it was hard. You kind of get in tug both ways. And, you know, God gave me a little girl and my little girl was violated. And it's my job as a father to protect my little girl and she spoke up she's brave. The last thing I want her to do, you know, at 6 years old was when this happened. And he was 65 years old. And you know, he's she's got 60 years difference in age," said Chad.

Chad's wife said the rally was bigger than just their case.

"We had to get more people involved and to speak out for others and we've had others contact us and say, 'You know what should I do in my situation?' We're kind of in the same boat," she explained.

Charles Von Holten's plea hearing is set for June 8 at the Whiteside County Court House.

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