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BURLINGTON — Former Racine County Register of Deeds Tyson Fettes, who also is on the Burlington Town Board, said he plans to plead not guilty to all charges against him after he was arrested earlier this week.

He was arrested in Winnebago County, Ill., and is charged with two felony counts of patronizing a prostitute and two misdemeanor counts of soliciting a prostitute.

“My intent is to enter pleas of not guilty to all charges against me. I ask that the public withhold judgment until the case is processed through the justice system,” Fettes said in a text to The Journal Times. “I’m working closely with my attorney to ensure the facts are all brought to light and a proper result is achieved.”

Between March 9 and May 29, Rockford (Ill.) police investigated two lingerie shops there — Chantilly Lace, 106 Seventh St., and Exclusive Lingerie Boutique, 77 Seventh St., Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross said Tuesday during a news conference.

The investigation resulted in the arrest of the owner of Chantilly Lace, 57-year-old Peggy D. Smith, who was charged with 12 counts of promoting a place of prostitution.

During the news conference, Hite Ross read the names and birthdates of 27 men, including Fettes, who were facing charges for soliciting and patronizing prostitutes.

Fettes, 33, faces charges stemming from two alleged separate encounters with prostitutes between March 9 and May 23.

In Illinois, patronizing a prostitute is a Class 4 felony and punishable with one to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. The maximum sentence for soliciting a sexual act in Illinois, a Class A misdemeanor, is up to one year in jail.

If convicted, Fettes would be ineligible to serve on the Burlington Town Board, or any other elected position, according to Wisconsin state law.

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He is due next in court to answer to the charges at the Winnebago County Justice Center at 2 p.m. on Aug. 29.

Bank suspension

Community State Bank has announced that Fettes has been suspended from his position at the bank, where he served as market president at the Community State Bank branch in Burlington.

“At Community State Bank, we are committed to integrity in our service to our customers, employees and communities,” Community State Bank President Scott Huedephl said in a statement to The Journal Times. “We take the charges issued this week against Tyson Fettes very serious and have suspended his employment as we secure more information.”

At the time of his resignation from the county in April, Fettes said that he was excited to begin a job at Community State Bank, where his family has strong ties.

“My grandmother and father were longtime employees, and Community State Bank has always been a huge part of my life and feels like a second family to me,” Fettes said of his new position in April. “In addition, working in my hometown allows me to spend more time with my family. The opportunity to serve my hometown in this role was too good to pass up.”

“My intent is to enter pleas of not guilty to all charges against me. I ask that the public withhold judgement until the case is processed through the justice system. I’m working closely with my attorney to ensure the facts are all brought to light and a proper result is achieved.” — Tyson Fettes

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Reporter

Alyssa Mauk covers breaking news and courts. She enjoys spending time with her family, video games, heavy metal music, watching YouTube videos, comic books and movies.

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