The key witness in the investigation of Rock Island County State’s Attorney Jeff Terronez talks exclusively with News 8 investigative reporter Chris Minor.
In 2010, prosecutor Jeff Terronez sent high school teacher Jason Van Houtte to prison for ten years for having sex with a 15-year-old student.
“Let there be no mistake about it if this were to have gone to trial, she was more than prepared to testify him in this case,” Terronez said.
In late April 2011, Jeff Terronez pleaded guilty to buying alcohol, one time, for that very same student.
“I delivered alcohol to a minor, it’s that simple,” said Terronez.
The key witness in the investigation into Terronez’s conduct says it’s not that simple.
Question: “How often did he buy you alcohol?”
“There were quite a few times he had bought us alcohol. About five times, I’d say. She’d ask him to get us alcohol and we’d drive and he’d meet us at several different places,” The Witness said.
Question: “So, JW would text Terronez and he would buy alcohol? And he would deliver it?”
“Yes,” said The Witness. “He’d come meet us at Mitchell Park, Jewel parking lot, behind McDonald’s, Hardees.”
Now 20 years old, the friend of Van Houtte victim JW says Terronez took the party on the road in July 2010, taking both girls to Champaign, Illinois overnight.
“Terronez picked me and JW up at my house and took us to Champaign. We went to the hotel that he was staying at to get ready and then we all went out to the bars,” said The Witness.
The trio stayed at a Country Inn and Suites hotel, booked and paid for by the married State’s Attorney and charged to taxpayers on his Rock Island County credit card.
Question: “How long were those two alone in the hotel room, five hours? Five hours, alone?”
“Yes,” said The Witness, “JW was on the pull-out couch in the living room area and Terronez was in the actual bed.
“Everyone knows what happened with her and the teacher, but I can’t say anything about her and the State’s Attorney because I never saw anything,” said The Witness.
One month after that road trip, Illinois State Police launched their investigation.
“After the trip, things kind of died down. He found out they were investigating him, so he needed to back off,” said The Witness.