Illinois Judge Allows Man Accused of Rape to be Own Lawyer at Trial

“So once the trial starts, you are on your own."

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A Champaign County judge ruled Monday he will allow a former University of Illinois police officer accused of raping four women to proceed in his case without a lawyer.

The News-Gazette in Champaign reports Jerald Sandage told Judge Roger Webber he understood he had a right to an attorney and that one would be appointed if he couldn’t afford one. Sandage, 49, also said he understood other admonitions from Webber, among them that representing himself without a lawyer would involve more than just “telling your story” and that he wouldn’t be assisted by a stand-by lawyer.

With his ruling, Webber vacated the appointment of public defender Dan Taylor to represent Sandage.

“So once the trial starts, you are on your own,” Webber cautioned.

Sandage of LeRoy is charged with sexual assault, sexual abuse and intimidation for alleged attacks on four women in incidents that date back to June 2012. Sandage was a University of Illinois police officer for 12 years and resigned in February.

In addition to the charges filed in April, Sandage was charged in December with official misconduct for allegedly using police resources to look up personal information on women, while both on and off duty.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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