Jacksonville Man To Be Civilly Committed Following 2022 Sexual Assault of a Minor Case

By Benjamin Cox on January 26, 2024 at 4:34pm

A Jacksonville man who is alleged to have sexually assaulted a minor in the Fall of 2022 has been committed to the Department of Human Services indefinitely.

20-year old Tristan M. McNeely, formerly of the 1300 block of Center Street, appeared in Morgan County Court for a status hearing on his mental fitness on Tuesday. McNeely was first examined for mental fitness by DHS in the case in December 2022 and has been in the Illinois Department of Human Service’s custody at the Choate Mental Facility in Anna since then.

McNeely was arrested in early October 2022 by Jacksonville Police for allegedly sexually abusing a minor victim under the age of 13 in September 2022.

Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll says that McNeely is likely permanently unable to stand trial due to mental fitness: “The defendant for the recent past has been in a facility in the Department of Human Services. He was found to be unfit to stand trial previously. When that occurs, there is a process in place where the individual is remanded to the custody of the Department of Human Services to receive counseling in an attempt to restore the individual to fitness. The experts [at Choate] found that not only is he unfit but that he would not be found fit in the statutory allotted time in order for us to proceed with the case. When that happens, the statute outlines a process, and an order to that effect was signed [Tuesday] in court, that remands the defendant to the Department of Human Services for them to undergo a civil commitment. If that civil commitment occurs, then our office would dismiss the case with leave to reinstate, and would be able to refile it in the event that the defendant is found fit within the statute of limitations of the crime.”

In 2017, Illinois changes its law in that there is no statute of limitations for a Class X felony charge of predatory criminal sexual assault of a minor.

If McNeely were to stand trial on the charge and be found guilty, he could face at a minimum of 6 to 60 years in prison without any aggravating factors coming into account. If aggravating factors were used in sentencing, McNeely could face up to natural life in prison.