McHENRY – On Oct. 21, a pair of police officers rolled down a dead-end McHenry street and found an SUV with its headlights turned off.
Inside, they found a shirtless man and a teenage boy.
The boy was 17. The driver was 56-year-old Nick Provenzano, a former McHenry County Board member who worked for U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren.
They had met on Grindr, a popular gay dating app.
McHenry police questioned Provenzano about what happened inside the car. He said they were “hanging out,” according to a redacted McHenry police report obtained by the Northwest Herald using the Freedom of Information Act.
Provenzano said he took off his shirt because he was hot. The day had a high of 76 degrees and a low of 61.
The police report includes a detective interview with the 17-year-old boy. He told police the meeting was “sexual” in nature – a late-night encounter that involved Provenzano at one point pulling down his pants and underwear.
The boy told police that the meeting was consensual. The age of consent in Illinois is 17.
Provenzano, who earned a reputation as one of the County Board’s most outspoken conservative members, declined to give police a statement, and he has not been charged with a crime.
Hultgren fired Provenzano on Monday.
“Nick Provenzano is no longer with the office,” a spokesperson in the congressman’s office said. “He was terminated, effective today.”
The Northwest Herald could not reach Provenzano for comment.
In an interview with police at the scene, Provenzano said he “did not want to admit anything,” the report said, “but stated the contact between him and [redacted] was consensual in nature.”
McHenry police called in a detective to interview the boy, according to the report.
The 17-year-old told police that he had been having a bad day at work and decided to “re-download” the app Grindr.
He found Provenzano on the app, sent him a picture of himself and asked if Provenzano wanted to meet, according to the report.
The teen later was walking down an undisclosed street when Provenzano pulled up in an SUV.
The boy got into the car, and they drove to the dead-end street where police later found them, according to the report.
The portion of the police report describing what happened inside Provenzano’s SUV is heavily redacted.
The teen said there were not any gifts, money, threats or promises exchanged for what happened inside the car.
He told police about how his age showed up as 18 on the Grindr app.
“[Redacted] advised when he put in his birth date on the app, he used his regular birth date,” the report said, “but the year was automatically made a year ahead to make him 18.”
The boy told police that he never knew Provenzano’s name, and he said he deleted the app after getting into Provenzano’s car.
“He realized doing something like this was sketchy and did not want to do it again,” the report said.
Police later released the teen to his family.
On Oct. 30, McHenry police contacted the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office to review the case, and an assistant state’s attorney later said that the office would not pursue any felony charges.
In August 2016, Provenzano resigned from his District 3 seat on the McHenry County Board to work full time with Hultgren. The McHenry Republican assumed the role of deputy district director for the 14th Congressional District, which covers most of McHenry County and six other suburban counties.
Provenzano has served as a precinct committee member in Nunda Township since the 1990s. He is on Tuesday’s primary ballot seeking re-election to Precinct 17.
He first was elected in 2002 to represent District 3, which includes Nunda, southeastern McHenry and northeastern Algonquin townships. The district covers all or parts of Crystal Lake, McHenry, Prairie Grove, Lakemoor, Holiday Hills, Island Lake, Oakwood Hills and Port Barrington.
Provenzano has served Hultgren, R-Plano, on a part-time basis since 2013 as his senior district representative. His last job in the congressman’s office was as Hultgren’s liaison for McHenry, Lake and DeKalb counties, and working on transportation initiatives for the entire district, which also includes parts of the other collar counties and Kendall County.
Provenzano served 12 years on the County Board, narrowly losing his 2008 re-election bid but winning the 2010 election. He unsuccessfully ran for county clerk in 2014, losing in the GOP primary to fellow County Board member Mary McClellan.
In recent years, Provenzano has served as a director of the McHenry County Catholic Prayer Breakfast. The event has drawn almost 600 residents to participate in a Saturday Mass and then enjoy breakfast with clergy members invited from all over the world.