Rockford officer Eric Thurmond charged with criminal sexual assault

By  | 

WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. (WIFR) -- Eric Thurmond, a former Rockford Police ROCK House officer, has been charged with criminal sexual assault.

Courtesy: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office

The Rockford Police Department says Thurmond was arrested in Arizona Thursday afternoon. Police say he was traveling for personal reasons prior to charges being filed.

Thurmond is the second officer charged for criminal sexual assault over the last two days. The charges were announced by Rockford Police Chief Dan O'Shea and Winnebago County State's Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

"You never want any problems in our police department, but when we're given them, we investigate them and handle them just like any other case," says O'Shea.

Police say it happened on May 23, when Thurmond was reportedly off-duty. A woman reported that Thurmond sexually assaulted her near Hall Street and North Second Street.

Thurmond, who served as a Resident Officer Community Keeper (ROCK) House officer for three years, was placed on administrative leave on May 24. Police say he transitioned out of his role in September.

The ROCK House program places officers in homes within the neighborhoods they patrol. The program is sponsored by the Winnebago County Housing Authority.

Thurmond was previously on paid administrative leave for five months. He will remain on administrative leave until an outcome is reached in the criminal case.

Officers obtained a warrant for Thurmond's arrest on Thursday with a bond set at $250,000.

Rockford mayor Tom McNamara released the following statement on Thurmond's investigation.

“I’m outraged. This is the second straight day where charges have been filed against a Rockford Police Officer for criminal sexual assault. Today, Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite-Ross announced charges against Officer Eric Thurmond. These are serious allegations and illustrate that our law enforcement members must be held to the same standard as all of us."

On Wednesday, Daniel Basile, a 19-year veteran of the Rockford Police Department, was also charged with criminal sexual assault. He was allegedly off-duty when it happened on Oct. 12, according to the Rockford Police Department.

"The men and women that work for the Rockford Police Department do an outstanding job, and it's frustrating to have two incidents involving two of my officers," says O'Shea.

Thurmond and Basile are considered innocent unless proven guilty by the court of law.

A live stream of the news conference announcing Thurmond's charges is attached below: