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Joliet Newsman Says Foes Will 'Destroy' Gal Pal With Fake Sex Case

The boyfriend of a Democratic precinct committeewoman jailed on sex charges claims he is the real target of corrupt police and politicians.

The septuagenarian lover of a 32-year-old Troy Township Democratic committeewoman jailed for an alleged sex date with a teenage boy took another shot at the cops he says framed her in retaliation for his muckraking.

"They're going to do everything they can to destroy her because they know how important she is to me," Joliet weekly newspaperman John Gabriel said of the felony sex case that landed his much-younger lady friend, Margarita Hernandez, in jail last week.

"This thing with Margarita is nothing more than an adventure in hate," said Gabriel, 76, who formerly worked for the Joliet Times Weekly before striking out on his own and launching the Weekly Reporter.

But Joliet Police Chief Mike Trafton dismissed Gabriel's accusation as "asinine."

"That's preposterous," Trafton said. "I know better. I would never allow my guys to do anything like that, and they would never do anything like that.

"This is about protecting children and nothing more," Trafton said.

Hernandez was arrested Thursday after FBI agents raided the 6901 Monmouth Drive home where she and Gabriel live, Trafton said. The FBI searched the house on Joliet's far west side as part of an ongoing child pornography investigation, he said.

Last week, Gabriel blamed Hernandez's arrest on "crooked policemen and crooked politicians" looking to settle a score with him.

He also told how he suspected a Romeoville cop who once fired a gun at him was behind the setup.

Romeoville Police Chief Mark Turvey said Monday that Gabriel has raised issues about his department in the past, but never anything about an officer shooting at him.

"That's the first I ever heard of that," Turvey said. "If someone were to make an allegation like that, there would be a very thorough investigation."

Gabriel backed off the shooting story Monday, but did claim that one time in either 2009 or 2010 he was lured to the Burger King in Romeoville and then threatened by a uniformed police officer.

He said he was on his way to a secret meeting when he was pulled over on Route 53 near Taylor Road.

Gabriel said the officer, whose name he does not know, walked up to his window and told him, "Gabriel, why don't you get smart and stay the f--- out of Romeoville."

No one showed for his appointment at the Burger King, Gabriel said, and he realized "it was just a trick to get me down there, and I reported it to the FBI."

The FBI, he said, has an extensive collection of reports on him and numerous threatening letters he received and forwarded to an agent in the Orland Park office, Gabriel said, adding, "I doubt they would share it with you."

FBI spokeswoman Joan Hyde said she would be available to discuss Gabriel's claims Tuesday, the same day Gabriel says he hopes to get his girlfriend in front of a judge to ask for a reduction in her $250,000 bond.

Gabriel said he spoke to Hernandez about her next court date when she called him Monday afternoon from the Will County jail.

"She's doing real well," he said, adding, "We're both devout Catholics."

"That's going to be her strength," Gabriel said. "Her prayer."

Gabriel said he first met his much younger girlfriend when he hired her to work at a cell phone and pager business he used to own. They moved in together about 10 years ago, he said, and both became precinct committeemen for the Troy Township Democrats.

He said they can both be committeemen in the same district because Hernandez was elected and he was appointed.

Soon after moving in with Hernandez, Gabriel began to pursue his dream of writing for newspapers. He says this career choice set in motion the events that ended with his girlfriend's arrest for allegedly having sex with a teenage boy.

"There's a lot of people I have angered," Gabriel said, adding, "They're punishing an innocent girl to try to get even with me, and it is a dirty, rotten shame."

Justice October 12, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Rosemary, I can answer that question! Margarita is a victim of Johns Manipulation, he is a professional in manipulation, he has done it for many years even to family and close friends... but Margarita is an adult, she should have stood up and stopped it specially when involving family to their sick acts.. she will have to pay for what she has done and if she doesn't help herself by opening her mouth and give up John, she will go down by herself while john enjoys life in her home and her money, whatever is left after all the lawsuits coming.... I do not believe she is as sick as him or atleast I hope, she has been brainwashed for over 10 years by this man making her believe higher power wanted her to do this when it was him with his sick head... I can't wait for all the truth to come out!
Justice October 12, 2012 at 02:55 PM
and to add to that, Margarita is very smart and knows from right and wrong so if she chose to do acts that were immoral and sick then she has to suffer the consequences!
Justice October 12, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Just Curious, her and john fooled everyone! They did live a double life!
Rosemary Golden October 13, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Just curious..yes I know what you mean. Can a person be so controlled that they may not know right from wrong? Maybe i just dont want to believe that she would do something like that. I would rather blame him for sure, but i cant help but wonder how young she really was when he got her in his clutches. And yes, I too know she lived a double life. Everyone I know that knew her did not ever even know about John. Everyone thought she lived alone. What a shock! But can this be anything similar to Patricia Hearst, who claimed to be brainwashed..or maybe even Jaycee Dugaard who was forced into submission? I just am having a hard time believing that Margarita was really that evil or that a young girl like her would be interested in a old man like John. And how she never told people about him if he was her boyfriend for 10 years? Maybe she did know right from wrong but I wonder if she felt she had control enough to say no to him. I also hope that Margarita will speak up and tell the truth about John and what he has really done. I don't believe she has much of a relationship with her family (probably because of John) but I hope they can find it in their hearts to come forward and see if she can be helped.
jason November 20, 2012 at 09:05 PM
did you notice this should be grounds for perjury

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