July 10, 2020
Carolyn P Smith

A 51-year-old Belleville man was charged Sunday with sex crimes and harboring a teenage runaway, who had been reported missing from her Georgia home in February.

The suspect, 51-year-old Larry Hale, was charged by the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s office with one count of child pornography/moving depiction, two counts of aggravated sexual abuse and a misdemeanor count of harboring a runaway.

Hale is currently being held at the St. Clair County jail on $250,000 bail.

According to police, Hale traveled to Georgia to bring the 16-year old girl back to his Belleville residence. The two had met on the internet, police say.

Witnesses told police about the teenage girl when officers were dispatched to the 400 block of Mitchell Lane on well-being check on July 3.

“Officers were informed that witnesses in the area had noticed an unfamiliar female juvenile staying at the residence for the past few months,” Belleville Police Lt. Todd Keilbach said. “The witnesses said the juvenile had been seen on multiple occasions with one of the adult male occupants” of a residence there.

During a preliminary investigation, police discovered that the girl was listed as a runaway in the state of Georgia, Keilbach said.

Hale was arrested and taken to the Belleville jail.

The Belleville News-Democrat does not publish the names of victims of sex crimes or juvenile victims.

According to an account in a Georgia newspaper, the girl had been reported missing on Feb. 15. Her mother told police her daughter left home without permission in the middle of the night, either February 12 or 13.

She had her white and brown dog and a burgundy rolling suitcase with pink spirals with her.

“The suspect went to Georgia and transported the female victim back to his residence in Belleville in February,” Keilbach said.

The victim “was placed in protective custody and taken to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. From there she was reunited with her mother, according to police.

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