Prosecutors: Teen plotted to bail out mother’s beau and flee with him

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Bradley Pence | Cook County Sheriff’s Department

A 49-year-old Avondale man was ordered held without bail on sexual abuse charges Thursday, after Cook County prosecutors told a judge the man’s teen victim was plotting to bail him out and flee.

Bradley Pence and the 16-year-old daughter of his live-in girlfriend have exchanged numerous calls during the three weeks he has spent at Cook County Jail since his arrest for having sex with the minor.

And the fact that Pence has called the landlord trying to get the girl access to a garage where he keeps his car and jewelry stolen from the girl’s mother raised suspicions in the State’s Attorney’s Office, Assistant State’s Attorney Dragana Bender said.

“I have not listened to those tapes (of the calls) but I do know there have been many communications,” Bender told Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr.

“We believe the defendant is trying to get into the garage, so the victim can obtain the car and jewelry to sell” and make their escape.

Bender noted that a safe at the apartment had been cleaned out of its contents, including Pence’s passport. Pence had been held in jail in lieu of $200,000 bail since May.

Pence was arrested at the apartment he shared with his girlfriend and victim, after the girl’s mother learned the teen was not at school. When officers arrived, Pence told them the girl wasn’t there, but officers found her hiding in a closet, according to a police report.

Bourgeois on Thursday initially raised Pence’s bail to $1 million dollars, cash— meaning it would cost a full $1 million to bail him out— then noticed Pence appeared to scoff at the figure.

“You’re laughing?” Bourgeois asked as a sheriff’s deputy moved to lead Pence back to the lockup. “Let the record show the defendant is laughing in court, and strike the $1 million. No bail.”

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