JoAnn Reed, the appointed village clerk in Alorton, was arraigned Monday on four felony charges, including two counts of official misconduct, and was ordered to report to the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department to be booked.
Reed, 54, who has worked as a records clerk for years at the Sheriff's Department, was to be released after posting $3,000 cash bond, which is 10 percent of the $30,000 bail set by Associate Judge Richard Aguirre. Reed was not asked to enter a plea.
St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson said he suspended Reed with pay on Friday after learning that the charges would be filed.
Reed is accused of sneaking a cellphone into the Alorton village lockup on Feb. 3 and giving it to her niece, 22-year-old Jennifer Harris, who has been charged with felony assault of a pregnant woman. The four felonies against Reed include two counts of bringing contraband into a penal institution, which can be punishable by imprisonment for up to four to 15 years.
Aguirre said that a condition of Reed's release is that after she is booked she cannot set foot in the Sheriff's Department offices while on bail.
With her Belleville attorney John O'Gara at her side, Reed, who is a candidate for mayor, promised to appear at all scheduled court appearances in the case.
With the agreement of Assistant State's Attorney Jim Piper, bail was lowered from an initial $150,000. Piper declined to comment.
Speaking for his client, O'Gara said that neither he nor Reed would have a comment at this time.
The criminal complaints filed by St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly require the charges to be presented to a county grand jury within 30 days.
An Alorton police department report stated that Reed smuggled food and the cellphone in to Harris, who then used it to contact her relatives. The police reports state that Harris was questioned at the jail and said that her "auntie" gave her the phone.
As the clerk, Reed had access to village offices including the small jail section at the village hall on Bond Avenue.
Kelly said that the charging of Reed marks the "11th case of official misconduct" brought by his office in two years, and the third involving Alorton. The impoverished village's former mayor Randy McCallum is serving a federal prison sentence for attempting to distribute cocaine, and former village police chief Michael Baxton is serving a prison sentence for theft.
Contact reporter George Pawlaczyk at email@example.com and 239-2625.