PITTSFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) – The Supreme Court of Illinois will not consider an appeal of the 2018 sexual assault, indecent solicitation, and sexual abuse convictions of John Pope, of Pearl, according to formal notification received by Pike County State’s Attorney Zachary Boren.
Pope’s convictions by a Pike County jury for predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, indecent solicitation of a child, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse were upheld in May by the Illinois Court of Appeals for the Fourth District.
The decision was then appealed to the Supreme Court.
Boren, who prosecuted the case, said the Supreme Court delivered its mandate to the Appellate Court effective November 4, 2020. “This case is a win for our community,” said Boren. “Those who commit reprehensible sex offenses against children deserve the strictest punishment available under Illinois law.”
Boren stated, 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.
“The 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.”
Boren stated 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.