A McLean County judge on Monday acquitted a former minister of charges he injured his infant daughter.
Judge Casey Costigan ruled Matthew Everly, 26, not guilty of aggravated battery of a child, reckless conduct and other felony charges against him.
Everly was accused of breaking the girl’s legs and arm. He testified in his own defense on Monday near the conclusion of the four-day trial.
Everly had served as associate pastor of worship at Eastview Christian Church in Normal. The church removed him after the charges were filed in May.
Prosecutors claimed he injured the baby out of frustration and had become overcome with stress while taking care of the girl when she was only weeks old.
Everly’s defense team issued a statement calling the verdict a “complete vindication for him and his family.”
“The Everlys have been through a nightmare during the last seven months,” the statement read. “Matt and his wife, Emily, plan to continue to raise their young daughter, who is healthy and thriving in their care.”
The felony charges carried a possible sentence of more than 180 years had he been convicted.
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