VICTIM SERVICES CONDEMNS GUILTY VERDICT REVERSAL
IN ADAMS COUNTY SEXUAL ASSAULT CASE
(Macomb, Illinois, January 13, 2022) – Victim Services counselors and advocates were horrified and saddened by the recent reversal of a guilty verdict in a sexual assault case by an Adams County judge.
The perpetrator, who was 17 years old at the time of the crime, was initially found guilty of one count of criminal sexual assault of a teenage girl while she was unconscious at a graduation party. The survivor says the perpetrator placed a pillow over her head during the assault. She regained consciousness and told him to stop, but he continued. Eventually, the survivor was able to push the perpetrator off of her and escape.
In an unusual and shocking turn, the judge reversed the decision to not guilty. The judge says the perpetrator had already served five months in jail and that the mandated sentence of four years in prison was not justifiable for the situation. Instead, he blamed the parents who hosted the graduation party for not being responsible hosts and providing alcohol to teenagers.
Survivors struggle with coming forward because they worry they will not be believed and/or they will be blamed for what happened to them. By reversing the guilty verdict in this case, the judge is blaming the victim and discouraging survivors from coming forward.
Consent CANNOT be given when a person is UNCONSCIOUS.
The way that a person is DRESSED, or whether or not they have been DRINKING, is NOT an open invitation for sex.
If consent was given in the past, it is not valid for any other time except that moment; prior consent does NOT obligate the person to give consent throughout the relationship.
Victim Services wants to reassure survivors that this type of verdict reversal is unusual, and that speaking with a counselor can help you feel empowered on your healing journey. Sexual assault is a traumatic crime and can have lifelong mental and physical health impacts on survivors. Speaking up and telling your story takes courage.
Victim Services provides free and confidential counseling, medical advocacy, and legal advocacy to survivors of sexual violence in Hancock, Henderson, Fulton, Knox, McDonough, Warren counties in Illinois. The nonprofit agency also provides free counseling to friends and family members of survivors who witnessed the abuse themselves.
When you call the Victim Services crisis hotline, staff pledge to believe you and listen to your story. You have the right to be heard, to get help, and to be treated with respect.
We will LISTEN to your story! We will SUPPORT YOU! We will SPEAK UP on your behalf in court! We will never stop SPREADING AWARENESS!
How can you be an ally to survivors? Being an ally means supporting survivors, in whatever capacity you can, during their healing journey. When someone tells you they were sexually assaulted, the best response is, “I believe you”. Listen to their story, and ask them how you can help. Let them know about the free resources available to them, like those provided by Victim Services.
If you have experienced or witnessed abuse at any point in your life, Victim Services’ free and confidential crisis hotline is available 24/7 at (309) 837-5555.