Metro-East News

Highland man charged 18 years after alleged sexual assault of a child

A 50-year-old Highland man was charged in an almost 20-year-old sexual assault case involving the alleged abuse of an 11-year-old boy at a bowling alley.

A news release from the Madison County State’s Attorney’s office stated that Eric Liening is now facing charges in connection with three separate alleged acts on the same child that are said to have occurred between January 1999 and January 2001 at the Poplar Junction Bowling Alley in Highland.

Those charges include predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, a Class X felony, and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a Class 2 felony.

“In our relentless pursuit of justice for victims of predatory crimes, sometimes it takes time for the truth to come to light,” State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons said in the release. “Fortunately, the law allows us to secure charges for such serious offenses, regardless of the passage of time.”

If convicted, Liening faces up to 60 years in prison for the Class X charge and up to seven years in prison for each Class 2 charge, according to the release.

Bail for Liening was set at $500,000. He was not in custody as of Thursday evening.