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Music teacher accused of sexual abuse pleads not guilty

  • Joseph Ryker

    Joseph Ryker

 
updated: 5/25/2017 12:33 PM

BENTON -- Joseph Ryker, a music teacher charged with six counts of criminal sexual abuse, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Franklin County court.

At a preliminary hearing before Judge Thomas Tedeschi, Ryker also waived his right to hear a formal reading of the charges against him and requested a jury trial.

A Franklin County grand jury returned an indictment against the 26-year-old Herrin native of six counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, one count of indecent solicitation of a child, and one count of grooming.

All of the charges are felonies.

Ryker, an area musician, teacher and conductor, was arrested on April 28 at Rend Lake College in Ina, by Franklin County Sheriff's officers assisted by Deputy U.S. Marshals.

Ryker has been an adjunct professor at the college, as well as the director of musical ensembles. He also was the music director for the Morthland Conservatory Community Youth Band in West Frankfort, comprised of middle-and high-school students from the area.

A pretrial hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. on July 6.

Ryker's bond was reduced from $250,000 to $100,000 on May 8. He posted the required 10 percent on May 11 and remains free on bail.