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Greg R. Veon, Publisher  |  Jan Touney, Executive Editor  |  Bill Wundram, Associate Editor
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Quad-City Times editorials reflect the opinion of the editorial board. The board formally meets 9 a.m. Wednesdays. Contact the board or send letters to opinions@qctimes.com, or by calling (563) 383-2320.

Terronez case is far from done

2011-04-26T22:48:00Z 2011-05-06T12:49:12Z Terronez case is far from doneQuad-City Times The Quad-City Times
April 26, 2011 10:48 pm  • 

Done?

Not by a longshot.

The Illinois Attorney General's office still has a lot of work left in Rock Island County.

Disgraced former State's Attorney Jeff Terronez didn't simply provide alcohol to a minor. That offense might be a regrettable misdemeanor, if , for example, he bought the beer for one of his own kids' graduation parties.

Terronez exploited a female teenage victim who had turned to his office for help. Terronez was elected and paid handsomely to protect those who seek the state's help. He did the opposite.

Rumors abound about the secret circumstances of Terronez's crime. That's why we're still pushing for full investigation disclosure. Note how quickly this secret plea deal came after our lawsuit to force disclosure of public records.

Along with providing alcohol to a minor he was paid to protect, Terronez also has decimated the credibility of his office, his former colleagues, and every Democrat who stood by silently as this crime was covered up for at least six months. That's how long Terronez dodged specific questions from us and others about this crime.

In the meantime, this publicly paid criminal suspect continued to oversee prosecution of other criminal suspects, which is certain to ignite appeals.

If, as Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan claimed, police found only enough to charge him with providing the alcohol, Terronez could have cleared that up with an honest answer in October. Instead, he and his silent colleagues perpetrated a ruse on voters as serious as his misdemeanor crime. Perhaps more.

Consequently, the credibility of Terronez and County Board Chairman Jim Bohnsack no longer exists. It's gone. Any current protestations must be regarded in the context of the six-month-long deception of the public.

The Illinois Attorney General's work is not done here. Until voters can elect a replacement at the earliest opportunity, Rock Island County needs independent oversight of the state's attorney's office. Rock Island voters are not safe with an office managed by Terronez's top assistant.

That assistant, Mark Senko, spent his whole career in the office that must be reformed. Not managed. Reformed.

Senko worked the past seven years as a trusted, primary assistant to a convicted and disgraced prosecutor. Despite even best intentions, Senko's long tenure is a hindrance to reform.

Rock Island County needs an independent interim prosecutor who will promise not to run for the office in 2012. And voters need credible candidates as far removed from Terronez and the cabal of partisan supporters whose obedient silence allowed a crime against a minor and the systemic deception of voters.

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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