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Local News

Attorney still waiting on expert report in sex cult abuse case

Margarita Hernandez
Margarita Hernandez

JOLIET – A five-year-old case involving a woman charged with sexual abuse of an underage boy as part of a sex cult ritual may come closer to concluding next year.

On Thursday, Daniel Locallo, attorney for Margarita Hernandez, 38, a former Troy Township Democratic committeewoman charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, told a Will County judge he was still waiting to receive a report from a psychological expert on Hernandez that could be used at trial or for legal mitigation.

Locallo declined to detail the contents of the report or what it could entail to The Herald-News. In June, Hernandez’s other attorney, Steven Landis, said he was waiting on a report from an expert for the case.

The next court date in the case is slated for Jan. 26. Locallo said once the report comes in, he will speak with prosecutors to see if the case can be resolved in a manner that will benefit all parties involved.

Hernandez was arrested in October 2012 after her 81-year-old boyfriend John Gabriel was investigated by the FBI for teen sex videos made at their home. She has been free on bond.

Since her arrest in 2012, the case has yet to go trial. The case was scheduled for jury trial at least twice, according to court records.

Gabriel, a retired journalist for The Times Weekly and Weekly Reporter, recorded sexual activities of Hernandez and others, which he claimed was a religious ritual, according to court files.

Will County prosecutors have said video was seized of Hernandez having sex with two boys who appear younger than 18.

Gabriel was convicted in 2015 of manufacturing child pornography for making videos allegedly showing Hernandez having sex with teenage boys. He was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

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