A public defender has been appointed for a rural Aledo man facing a Class X felony of aggravated battery to a child. That action taken Tuesday in Mercer County Circuit Court regarding 31 year old Robert Gates. A preliminary hearing is set for January 21st. The victim in the case is approximately three years old, according to the complaint which was investigated by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department and Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The alleged incident occurred January 2nd. Gates remains in custody at the Mercer County Jail without bond. Class X felonies are punishable by 6-to-30 years in prison upon conviction.