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71-year-old gets probation in teen sex abuse case

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Richard Nelson

DIXON – A 71-year-old Harmon man will serve 3 years of probation and must register as a sex offender for molesting a teen girl in 2010.

Richard D. "Rick" Nelson, pleaded guilty Thursday in Lee County Court to aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He must complete a psychosexual evaluation and receive treatment within a year.

He also must pay more than $2,000 in court costs and other fees, and cannot use a computer; live with anyone younger than 18; or date anyone who has a child younger than 18.

In summer 2010, Nelson, one of the founders of the Arabian Horse Distance Riding Association, invited a then-14-year-old southern Illinois girl to stay with him to advance her career in endurance riding, according to charges filed against him.

The girl’s mother called deputies March 19 to report the molestation. She told Lee County sheriff’s deputies Nelson had “dry humped” the girl but did not have sex with her.

Nelson was arrested in June.

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