Written by Charlie Van Horn

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Topics: Illinois

Thursday, 8 July 2004

SHERIDAN, Illinois -- Sara Avery, 27, of rural Earlville was charged with two counts of indecency and one count of lewd conduct stemming from an investigation into a children's party from June 25th of this year.

Avery, who goes by the alias of "Whacko the Magic Clown" was performing at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Leffleman in Sheridan when the incident occurred.

According to Lasalle County States Attorney Joseph Hettle, Ms. Avery began playing guitar and singing various pop hits from such popular artists as Smashmouth, Sugar Ray, and Firehouse. She also included the (website)Tommy James and the Shondells hit, "Mony Mony".

"My daughter Hannah was really enjoying the show. Her friends were just singing and clapping." said Lori Leffleman. "Then when that song started, and the mood decidedly changed"

The lyrics, according to a fan site of The Shondells, do not include the additional words Avery inserted.

"She was performing to a crowd of young girls aged five to eight years old" Hettle said, "She showed extremely poor choice of judgment by adding the 'Hey Hey' portion of the song"

"My baby girl started crying because Whacko stopped the song and threatened them that if they didn't sing along, nobody would ever have another birthday" stated Sam Leffleman on Tuesday, "I really hoped I wasn't going to have to explain what 'getting laid' or 'getting f#####' was to my six year old daughter, but that monster left me no choice."

'Whacko' has received complaints on two other occasions. Once in 1997 for performing 'American Pie', including "Drinking beer with my f##### up friends", and for singing 'Margaritaville'

Avery's attorney, Greg Nimi, is concerned that the media attention on this case is causing more harm than the actual performance of the song could ever do.

"My client feels she did nothing wrong, she was doing what she was hired to do, entertain. And if you ask me, a good, boisterous sing-a-long is a fine way to do it at a birthday party."

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