The Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a Pearl man 2018 for criminal sex abuse charges. According to a press release from Pike County State’s Attorney Zachary Boren, on April 18, 2018 a Pike County jury returned verdicts finding 50 year old John A 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. Pope was sentenced to two consecutive natural life terms in prison on October 22nd, 2018.
The convictions were upheld in May by the Illinois Court of Appeals for the Fourth District. The decision was then appealed to the Supreme Court. Pope was convicted of committing sexual acts with three girls, ages 11, 12 and 14 at the time of the incidents between summer 2016 and January 2017. All three victims had been adopted by the Pope family and were living with Pope at the time of the acts. 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. Pope’s attorney attempted to have a new trial in Pike County after the convictions on the grounds of procedural and evidentiary errors, but was ultimately denied by Judge Diane M. Lagoski. The nineteen-page opinion to the Illinois Appellate Court, authored by Presiding Justice Robert J. Steigmann, rejected each of Pope’s arguments on appeal.