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Eric Thurmond pleads guilty to lesser charge in sexual assault case, must resign from the Rockford Police Department

ROCKFORD — Rockford Police Officer Eric Thurmond has accepted a plea deal in a sexual assault case that began in 2019.

Thurmond, 28, pleaded guilty to a single count of disorderly conduct Wednesday and was sentenced to 12 months probation, six days in jail with three days served, and 50 hours of community service. He must resign from the Rockford Police Department within the next five days, according to his plea agreement. His agreement also stipulates that he cannot work in law enforcement anywhere in Illinois for one year. He was originally charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault, unlawful restraint and disorderly conduct.

Charges against Thurmond stemmed from allegations that on May 23, 2019, he sexually assaulted a woman in the area of Hill and North Second streets. He was placed on administrative leave after the incident and was arrested in Arizona the following October.

Thurmond, who lived in a Rockford Police ROCK House, made national headlines in 2018 when a video of him dancing with neighborhood kids went viral. He was among four Rockford officers within a year to face criminal charges, the second to be charged with sexual assault.

On Sept. 20, 2020, Joshua Sims was charged with domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery, and unlawful restraint. Those charges have been dismissed.

In June 2020, officer Frank Fabiani was charged with misdemeanor battery after arresting local protester, William Patrick Gettings, during a traffic stop. Getting was initially charged with battery after he became combative. Then-Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross later dropped those charges and filed a criminal complaint against Fabiani, claiming he battered Gettings.

The case against Fabiani was moving through the courts under Hite Ross but did not conclude before she left office and was succeeded by J. Hanley last December. Hanley reviewed the case and dropped charges against Fabiani and chose not to pursue a new complaint against Gettings.

Sexual assault charges against Daniel Basile, a 19-year veteran of the Rockford Police Department, are still pending. Prosecutors allege that he assaulted a woman in October 2019. Basile’s attorney has filed a motion to dismiss the case and is scheduled to argue that motion Sept. 24.

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