The defense attorney for Jeff Pelo, a former Bloomington police sergeant who is charged with raping four women, wants a special prosecutor appointed to the case. The defense also is requesting that stalking charges against Pelo be dismissed.
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The defense attorney for former police Sgt. Jeff Pelo, charged with raping four women and stalking another, has asked for dismissal of stalking charges and appointment of a special prosecutor to handle the case.
The requests were among several pretrial motions defense attorney Michael Rosenblat filed last week. Rosenblat is also asking that a jury not be allowed to hear evidence related to a photo-lineup police showed to the victims.
Rosenblat argues a special prosecutor is needed to avoid a conflict of interest because of Pelo’s 18 years of service with the Bloomington Police Department and his working relationship with McLean County state’s attorneys.
Pelo, 43, resigned from the department last week. He had been on paid administrative leave for more than a year, collecting his $81,000 salary while behind bars on $1 million bond.
Pelo was charged in June 2006 with stalking and attempted residential burglary after he was stopped by a Bloomington police officer outside a woman’s home. He was charged in July 2006 with sexually assaulting four women between December 2002 and January 2005.
Rosenblat said in the motion the grand jury that indicted Pelo on stalking and burglary charges was misled by false testimony from Bloomington Detective Larry Shepherd.
During grand jury proceedings, Shepherd said the stalking victim identified Pelo as the man who was watching her from a vehicle in a parking lot on April 7, 2006. Rosenblat said that incident actually occurred April 7, 2005.
The stalking victim was asked to look at a photo lineup and point out anyone who looked familiar from any circumstance. She said many of the men looked familiar but Pelo looked the most familiar.
Rosenblat said that is not enough to positively identify his client as a stalker.
Rosenblat said a jury should not be allowed to view photo identification evidence because police were suggestive in presenting lineups to victims.
Prosecutors intend to file a response to Rosenblat’s motions. A judge will hear pretrial motions Nov. 19 and 20. Pelo’s trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 14.