The Illinois Court of Appeals for the Fourth District affirmed the 2018 jury trial convictions and sentencing of John Pope, of Pearl, Illinois, according to a release from the Pike County State's Attorney.
The nineteen-page opinion, authored by Presiding Justice Robert J. Steigmann, rejected each of Pope’s arguments on appeal.
“This is a win for our community,” said Zack Boren, Pike County State’s Attorney.
“Those who commit reprehensible sex offenses against children deserve the strictest punishment available under Illinois law.”
On April 18, 2018, a Pike County jury returned verdicts finding Pope guilty of five counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, and also finding him guilty of two counts of indecent solicitation of a child and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty on four additional counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.
On October 22, 2018, Judge Diane M. Lagoski sentenced Pope to two consecutive natural life sentences.
At trial, Boren and Assistant State’s Attorney Leecia Carnes represented the State, with Quincy attorney Anthony Cameron representing Pope. On appeal, the office of the Illinois State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor represented the State, while attorney Gary Wangler of Belleville represented Pope.
“This trial was a team effort,” said Boren.
“All the members of my staff put in many extra hours to bring this case to a successful conclusion. And the courthouse staff and the Pike County Sheriff’s Department provided a great deal of extra assistance.”
The Pike County Sheriff’s Department was the lead investigative agency on the case. Witnesses at the trial included multiple case agents, DNA analysts from the Illinois State Police Crime Laboratory, and representatives of DCFS and the Children’s Advocacy Center.