Joliet Woman Charged With Teen Sex Romp Allowed Around Youths at Work
A judge allowed Margarita Hernandez to be around youths while she works, but if she gets caught alone with any of them she could be in a lot of trouble.
The Joliet woman charged with setting up a sex date with a 15-year-old Chicago boy got permission to be around children while working at Midway airport—but if she gets caught alone with a youth the judge threatened to send her to prison for 21 years.
"If you violate any condition of your bond, especially the one I just modified in this fashion, I'm going to sentence you to the maximum consecutive sentences in the Department of Corrections," Judge Edward Burmila told Margarita Hernandez at her arraignment Thursday.
Hernandez, 32, was arrested Oct. 4 on charges she had sex with a 15-year-old Chicago boy during a prearranged July meeting at her home, police said. Hernandez shares that home with her boyfriend, 76-year-old veteran weekly newspaperman John Gabriel. Both Gabriel and Hernandez are precinct committeemen for the Troy Township Democrats.
Gabriel has claimed Hernandez was framed by enemies he made during his years in the weekly newspaper business. Gabriel wasn't about to name names, but he did accuse a Romeoville cop of once shooting at him and told of another Romeoville police officer luring him to a Burger King and then threatening him.
"They're punishing an innocent girl to try to get even with me, and it is a dirty, rotten shame," Gabriel said four days after Hernandez's arrest.
Hernandez was released from the county jail after her attorney, Steve Landis, convinced Judge Richard Schoenstedt to drop her bond from $250,000 to $100,000.
But after she got out, Landis said Thursday, she was suspended without pay from her job as a manager with Southwest Airlines.
Hernandez has been employed with Southwest for 11 years, Landis said, and until her arrest, had never missed a day of work.
Southwest was concerned about Hernandez coming in contact with kids as she escorted passengers on and off of planes, Landis said.
Landis explained to the judge that even if Hernandez wanted to engage in illiicit behavior, the high security at Midway Airport would stop her from getting away with it.
Burmila agreed, but put his foot down about what he would do if Hernandez was found in any of the airports "confined areas" with a juvenile.
Hernandez faces up to seven years in prison on each of three counts in her indictment—one for vaginal penetration with the teen and two for oral. The sentences will run consecutively if she is found guilty.