A Jacksonville man will spend half a dozen years in prison for committing a sex act with an underage family member.
Thirty-two-year-old Joshua Markley of the 500 block of Hardin was sentenced to six years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for criminal sexual assault in Morgan County Court this morning. Markley pleaded guilty to the charges with the victim and about ten members of her family in attendance.
It’s alleged Markley committed a sex act with the girl last February, but during an impact statement read by the victim before the plea deal was announced, she said she endured “three years of sexual and emotional abuse” and said the only way she’d feel safe is with Markley in prison.
Bobby Bonjean is the Morgan County State’s Attorney.
“There’s a sense of relief for the victim that now, as I’ve met with her throughout the course of the case and here more recently, you can kind of tell by her statement to the court that it appears the healing process has begun,” says Bonjean. “And, I’m just hopeful that perhaps the healing process can proceed more in earnest now that there is some finality to the proceeding.”
The mother of the victim who prosecutors say witnessed the incident last year, Mandy Markley, says her daughter had a lot of support as evidenced by the family members in court this morning. She notes April is awareness month for sexual assault and child abuse.
“I just think that other people should have the courage to come forward and tell someone, because they are going to be believed [that] it’s not their fault. As much as they’re told it is their fault, it’s not,” says Markley.
“Morgan County had six people arrested for criminal sexual assault last year, and that’s not near enough. There’s so much more of it; just talking to people in the community, you talk to somebody, and one out of four people says, ‘Oh, that happened to me, but I never told anyone.”
Markley’s attorney, Mike Hankins, expressed concern at the length of time court was in recess while the plea deal was being finalized. Morgan County Circuit Judge Chris Reif also appeared to express concern and multiple times confirmed with Markley that it was his own decision to take the plea deal.
Markley had lashed out in court during his last appearance and said “you know damn well I didn’t do this” to the family members in attendance. He appeared calm this morning and clearly answered questions asked of him by the judge.
Ultimately, Reif told the victim and her family that he hoped they could continue to put the incident behind them.
Markley was given credit for 415 days served in jail. He was ordered to serve three years to life of mandatory supervised release and fined $1,180.