FREEPORT — George Buss, a Freeport man widely known for the decades he spent portraying the nation’s 16th president, was arrested Friday on charges of possessing child pornography video and patronizing a prostitute.
Buss, 63, was booked into the county jail late Friday morning, according to information from the Stephenson County Sheriff’s Office. Buss was taken into custody at his home after a criminal investigation that started in February, Freeport police said. He is being held without bond.
Buss, a retired teacher, has portrayed President Abraham Lincoln in public events around Freeport and across the country since 1986. He is the official Lincoln reenactor at an annual reading of the Gettysburg Address each year at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
“The crimes George Buss stands accused of are heinous. I denounce him in the strongest of terms,” state Rep. Andrew Chesney, R-Freeport, said in a statement to reporters. “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. May their voices be heard and may justice be quickly served.”
His arrest came one day before he was scheduled to perform in the annual portrayal of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. That event, normally held in Debate Square downtown, was to be held online this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Buss was one of two men arrested in connection with the investigation.
Tyler Dotson, 22, of Leaf River, is charged with two counts of child pornography disseminating video and prostitution.
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