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Ex-Nauvoo hotelier enters plea to end sex-abuse case

A former Nauvoo hotelier has admitted there was enough evidence to convict him of groping several of his female employees but that he wasn't guilty as charged.

Kay L. Walker, 62, entered the so-called Alford plea Monday as part of an agreement with the Illinois state attorney's office that would reduce five felony and six misdemeanor counts of battery to misdemeanor charges.

"I choose to end an over two-year-long nightmare of shock, pain, bewilderment and profound sadness for my wife, Angela, and me," Walker said in a statement. "We now go forward, free of this crushing entanglement."

Walker was sentenced to a one-month suspended jail term, 24 months of conditional discharge on each of the 11 counts and was ordered to pay more than $4,500 in fines and court fees for offensively touching his employees, one of them a juvenile at the time.

"Faced with the overwhelming costs of continuing this battle, and the daunting risk of defending felony charges, regardless of their lack of merit, I have accepted the disposition offered by the state's attorney," Walker said.

The former owner of Nauvoo Family Inn and Suites could avoid any jail time if he does not violate the terms of the plea agreement. However, any of the eight victims, who were employed by Walker as hotel housekeepers, could file individual civil lawsuits.

Walker retired and sold his 20-room hotel in September 2003, "when the pressure of the pending cases and the media reports made this impossible," his attorney Ron Hamm said in a prepared statement. In his quest to regain stability, Walker relocated his family and has tried to maintain employment.

"We are happy that this nightmare is over and are confident that Mr. Walker will never be in a criminal court in the future," Hamm said.

Walker plans to write and publish a history of the circumstances.


E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com