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Local News

Prosecutor: Woman broke sex offender law after registering children at daycare

Tessah Mitchell, 37, Joliet
Tessah Mitchell, 37, Joliet

A Joliet woman was apparently registering her children at a daycare when she violated the requirements of her sex offender status, according to court transcripts.

Tessah S. Mitchell, 37, of Joliet, was put on the sex offender registry after she was convicted of kidnapping a baby almost 20 years ago.

In 2011, she unsuccessfully tried to contest her sex offender status, arguing her crime was not sexual and she could be put on the state’s violent offender against youth registry instead.

A criminal complaint alleged that on July 6, 2016, Mitchell was at KinderCare, 2605 Black Road, and she was prohibited from being there since she is a registered sex offender.

Will County Assistant State’s Attorney John Rickmon told Judge Dave Carlson during a court hearing on Sept. 25 that Mitchell went to KinderCare to register her children. The daycare staff knew of her sex offender status and contacted the police.

A warrant then was issued for Mitchell’s arrest. She was charged with being in a school zone, giving the Joliet police false information about her phone number and failing to inform them of a change to her employment address.

Mitchell wasn’t apprehended until Sept. 21. She’s been locked up at the Will County jail since then on a $150,000 bond. She would need to post 10 percent of the bond to be released.

Mitchell’s attorney had asked for a $25,000 bond and argued she wasn’t a flight risk. Her motion to have her bond reduced was denied on Oct. 1.

State’s attorney spokesman Charles B. Pelkie said the office objects to Mitchell’s bond being reduced based on her past criminal history and current charges.

Mitchell was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2001 for kidnapping a baby from a hospital after she suffered a miscarriage.

Her attorneys objected to her being placed on the sex offender registry at the time and argued it was not a sexual offense. Former Judge Stephen White denied a motion in 2001 to declare her placement on the registry unconstitutional.

In 2011, Mitchell complained in a motion that being on the registry disrupted her “employment situation.” Former Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes allowed Mitchell’s motion to be stricken because the court had no jurisdiction.

According to the state police, a person convicted of kidnapping or the attempted kidnapping of a child is considered a child sex offender no matter which registry they are under.

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