Metro-East News

Judge surrenders to Belleville police on sex and intimidation charges

Judge Duebbert surrenders to police in November 2017

In this BND file video from Nov. 8, 2017, Judge Ronald Duebbert was officially booked on charges that include criminal sexual abuse and intimidation.
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In this BND file video from Nov. 8, 2017, Judge Ronald Duebbert was officially booked on charges that include criminal sexual abuse and intimidation.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Ron Duebbert surrendered Wednesday to Belleville police on felony charges of criminal sexual abuse and intimidation.

He was officially booked — fingerprinted and had his mugshot taken.

Duebbert was charged Monday with the two felonies plus two misdemeanors, alleging in part that he grabbed a client’s genitals and offered to reduce a legal fee by $100 if the man would perform a sex act on him, according to St. Clair County Circuit Clerk court documents. Duebbert has declined to comment on the charges.

Belleville police investigated the case.

“Belleville Police do not have knowledge of any other victims. We understand the sensitive nature of these types of cases and must respect the privacy of the victim and their families while balancing our duty to ensure public safety. No additional information will be released by the Belleville Police regarding the investigation,” said Master Sgt. Todd Keilbach in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

The charges filed by the State Appellate Prosecutor’s Office office alleges that on Nov. 22, 2016 — before he became a judge — Duebbert “committed the offense of intimidation” against his client when he “communicated a threat to expose the victim to hatred, contempt or ridicule ... to ensure that the victim would never tell anyone” that Duebbert allegedly offered to reduce his legal fee in return for oral sex.

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Circuit Judge Ronald Duebbert walks to the Belleville Police Department on Wednesday morning. Duebbert was officially booked on charges of criminal sexual abuse and intimidation plus two misdemeanors alleging in part that he grabbed a client’s genitals and offered to reduce a legal fee by $100 if the man would perform a sex act on him. Derik Holtmann dholtmann@bnd.com

The criminal sexual abuse charge alleges that state that Duebbert “knowingly committed an act of sexual conduct” in that he reached into the man’s shorts and “touched the victim’s penis through the victim’s underwear for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.”

The misdemeanor counts allege Duebbert committed battery in that he “made physical contact in an insulting or provoking nature with the victim,” and committed the offense of “solicitation of a sexual act,” by offering to knock $100 off his legal bill if the man would perform an act of oral sex on Duebbert.

The man was a client of Duebbert’s who was facing a felony charge of aggravated fleeing and eluding police.

No bond was set as Duebbert, 55, agreed to be in court on Dec. 1 to answer the charges.

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Circuit Judge Ronald Duebbert walks to the Belleville Police Department on Wednesday morning. Duebbert was officially booked on charges of criminal sexual abuse and intimidation plus two misdemeanors alleging in part that he grabbed a client’s genitals and offered to reduce a legal fee by $100 if the man would perform a sex act on him. Derik Holtmann dholtmann@bnd.com

Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson has said a judge outside the five-county 20th Judicial Circuit will be brought in to hear the charges against Duebbert.

Special prosecutors Lorinda Lampkin and David Robinson will head the prosecution against Duebbert.

Robinson was already reviewing evidence in another allegation involving Duebbert. The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis asked that a charge of obstruction be filed against Duebbert in connection with a murder case. The request by the Major Case Squad detectives involved the Dec. 30 shooting death of Carl Silas of Belleville, whom police allege was killed by David Fields, 20, Duebbert’s former roommate. Duebbert’s cell phone records, obtained by police though a search warrant found that the judge and Fields exchanged nine text messages on Dec. 29, the day before Silas was killed. Duebbert had told police he didn’t have any contact with Fields after 8 p.m. on that day, according to investigators.

In 1999, Duebbert was charged with misdemeanor battery on a complaint from an 18-year-old man that Duebbert had fondled him. According to News-Democrat stories, the young man was in the courthouse facing a burglary charge when he allegedly was fondled. Records of the case no longer appear in online county legal records and may have been removed because all records of the case were expunged by judicial order.

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