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Harvard man not guilty of obscenity after cellphone slipup

Published: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 12:30 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 11:34 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – In acquitting a Harvard man of obscenity charges, a McHenry County judge determined that the defendant wasn't reckless when he misdialed a phone number, sending a picture of his penis to a 10-year-old girl.

The picture message was meant for Raul Placencia-Quintero's wife, but instead went to the cellphone of a Marengo girl. The phone numbers were different by one number.

The girl's mother filed a police report, and 37-year-old Placencia-Quintero later was charged with misdemeanor obscenity. If convicted, he faced up to a year in the county jail.

"He misdialed by one digit. By a negligent slip of the finger he sent this incorrectly," defense attorney Phillip Prossnitz said Tuesday at the brief bench trial. "… It was a simple mistake, a misdialed number."

McHenry County Judge Joel Berg said ultimately, the case came down to negligence versus recklessness. The difference being when one acts recklessly there is a conscious disregard of the law, versus negligence, or a simple mistake.

"A reasonable person would have double checked the phone number before sending a picture of his penis over the airwaves," Berg said. "Welcome to the modern day and age."

Assistant State's Attorney Brian Miller argued the conduct went a step further.

"It is incredibly reckless to not take pains to make sure you have the correct phone number," Miller said. "… To not take the time to simply double check that he had the right number is reckless."

The judge said he found the picture to be unseemly, however, "It's a far cry from being inappropriate and spending up to a year in jail."

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