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Craigslist rapist takes stand, says cops threatened him

Published: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 5:20 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 12:58 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry County prosecutor says Charles Oliver locked the women he met on Craigslist in a room or basement, choked some, threatened and raped them.

Oliver, 45, is awaiting trial on multiple charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault, kidnapping and unlawful restraint.

One alleged victim – there are six in all – called the basement of Oliver’s Woodstock home a “sex dungeon,” Assistant State’s Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein said.

Many of the women were escorts or prostitutes.

“[The alleged victims] agreed to sex for money, but once they got back to his house, the defendant operated by another set of rules – his rules,” Eisenstein said.

Attorneys on Thursday argued various motions that outlined what evidence and testimony jurors can hear at Oliver’s upcoming trial.

Oliver took the stand, testifying about the events the night of his January 2013 arrest. His defense attorney, Mark Facchini, previously sought to ban from trial incriminating statements Oliver made to officers that night.

On the stand, Oliver said a Woodstock police detective had threatened him, saying police told him they “owned his life.”

“[Detectives said they] would come back with more charges, and more charges, and raise your bond so high you wouldn’t be able to get out,” Oliver said.

McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather did not rule Thursday on whether statements he made that night – including those in which he told officers his arrest was all about money – would be admissible.

Because of the number of allegations against his client, Facchini feared the court proceedings would become “a trial within a trial.” Prosecutors said they would only introduce testimony from witnesses who had similar encounters to the case being tried. The first of six trials is set for Feb. 24.

Facchini pointed out that some of the witnesses told conflicting stories to police and newspaper reporters. Some of the complainants have previous arrests for prostitution, but only convictions can be admitted at trial, the judge ruled. One alleged victim is currently jailed in another state, testimony revealed, but it is unclear for what.

Prather set a Feb. 9 court date for status on remaining pending motions.

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