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SHERIDAN — A Sheridan man appeared in Sheridan County’s Circuit Court Tuesday morning in hopes of having his bond modified. Judge Shelley Cundiff ultimately denied the request and reaffirmed that Jason B. McGill, 34, will have bond set at $100,000 cash in connection with the charge of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree.
Defense Attorney Ryan Healy argued the bond amount and conditions were too strenuous for the accused and his family and were creating unintended negative consequences.
“Bond is not intended to be a pre-judgement,” Healy said, asserting it should be set as least restrictive as possible while still ensuring public safety and that the defendant reappears in court when required.
Healy asked that McGill be able to post 10 percent of the bond, or $10,000 for his pre-arraignment release. Healy said McGill pays $1,700 monthly in child support and is unable to make those payments when not working because of his incarceration. Healy said in addition to his four biological children, McGill’s girlfriend also has three other children who depend on him for financial support.
In addition, Healy argued the “no contact” order issued was impractical, as it would preclude his interacting with anyone in his family. He also said McGill was not a flight risk because many of his family members live in Sheridan County.
“By keeping him in jail, it has an effect on his family, his kids and employees,” Healy said.
Deputy County Prosecutor Dianna Bennett asserted the bond was initially set correctly. Bennett said that she was not comfortable with the idea of McGill being released when potential psychological issues have not been addressed.
Bennett revealed McGill’s victim was prepubescent and though the incident that led to the charge was witnessed by another adult, several months passed before it was reported to police.
“Some of us in the community have a duty to protect the most vulnerable,” Bennett said, indicating children fall into that category and that if bonded out, McGill would return to live in a home with seven children.
Cundiff ultimately sided with Bennett.
“These allegations are quite severe,” Cundiff said, pointing out McGill faces a minimum of 25 years in prison if convicted.
Cundiff also expressed concerns that McGill had made statements that he would not turn himself in to police and that the crime was not immediately reported.
Sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree is a felony punishable by not less than 25 years and not more than 50 years in prison.
McGill’s formal arraignment will be set when the case is bound over to the 4th Judicial District Court.
McGill was taken into custody Feb. 26.