Carbondale landlord found guilty of sexual assault

By Gus Bode

Henry Fisher, owner of Home Rentals, guilty of predatory criminal sexual assault of 12-year-old girl

A Williamson County jury found Carbondale landlord Henry Fisher guilty of the predatory criminal sexual assault of a child May 16.

Fisher, owner of Home Rentals, and one of Carbondale’s largest rental property owners, will be sentenced July 2 at 9 a.m. A guilty verdict for his charge is punishable by six to 30 years in prison. Fisher, 53, is currently being held at the Williamson County Jail in Marion.

Advertisement

Fisher was convicted of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in her Herrin home in January 2001. Carbondale Police arrested him on Feb. 28, 2001, and he was charged in March of that year. Fisher declined a plea agreement in June 2001.

Fisher’s lawyers had originally said they wanted a speedy trial. However, they repeatedly filed motions that would eventually push the trial date to more than two years after the incident.

Conversations between Fisher and the girl obtained by eavesdropping devices were used as evidence in the trial. Police officers, Department of Children and Family Services officials and the girl’s family members were included as witnesses.

Fisher testified in court that the girl had made up the incident. He told the jury she was upset with him after he disciplined her for shaking her 3-year-old brother. Fisher testified he did not tell the girl’s mother about the incident.

The girl’s mother was charged in 2001 with obstruction of justice in connection with Fisher’s assault. She allegedly told Fisher about the investigation, but told police on two occasions that she hadn’t tipped him off.

Fisher had also been arrested and charged with home invasion and four counts of sexual assault in 1994 after one of his tenants claimed he raped her. Those charges were eventually dropped after Fisher established in court that he had a prior relationship with the accuser.

Williamson County State’s Attorney Charles Garnati said he and his staff are pleased they had a hand in convicting Fisher.

Advertisement

“We’re proud that Williamson County was able to get him off the street,” Garnati said. “We hope the judge gives him a long prison sentence.”

A Home Rentals employee speaking on the condition of anonymity said an office manager is currently supervising the rental business.

Home Rentals employees refused to comment further on the business.

Reporter Burke Wasson can be reached at [email protected]

Advertisement