By RICK HAYES email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — A bond reduction for a Bluford man arrested last month on a sex charge has been approved by Judge Eric Dirnbeck.
Paul L. Cook, 71, of North Condor Lane in Bluford, was indicted by a Jefferson County Grand Jury on April 24. Cook is charged with predatory criminal sexual assault of a victim under the age of 13, a Class X felony.
During a court appearance with private counsel T.J. Parrish this week, Cook waived formal arraignment and pleaded innocent to the charge.
Parrish argued that Cook’s bond be reduced from $150,000 to $30,000, over the objection of the state.
Dirnbeck lowered Cook’s bond to $75,000 with
conditions. Those conditions include no contact with the victim and no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18.
In asking the court for a lower bond, Parrish said his client has never been arrested. He also reported Cook has numerous health problems, including kidney failure. He also has a heart condition, an enlarged prostate and is an insulin dependent diabetic.
Parrish also told the court his client could not afford the $150,000 original bond since his only income is a $950 monthly Social Security check.
Assistant State’s Attorney Darrin Rice objected to the bond reduction, indicating the defendant is charged with a non-probationary Class X felony.
Cook is accused of committing an act of sexual penetration with a female 4-years-old. The victim was interviewed by The Amy Center personnel in early April and described in detail the defendant’s actions, using an anatomically correct doll.
The alleged incident occurred between June 2013 and April 7, 2014, according to court records.
Parrish took over as Cook’s attorney in late April. Public Defender Sean Featherstun was originally appointed to represent the defendant.