Pike County Man’s Appeal to IL Supreme Court Over Sexual Assault & Abuse Convictions Won’t Be Heard

By Benjamin Cox on May 9, 2023 at 1:53pm

The Illinois Supreme Court will not hear the appeal of a Pike County man’s 2021 criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse convictions.

24-year old Clayton G. Watts formerly of Pittsfield was found guilty by a jury in Pike County Court in July 2021 of the two charges in a week-long trial. Judge Alan D. Tucker sentenced Watts to 10 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections in September 2021. Due to truth in sentencing, Watts is to serve 85% of that sentence. Additionally, he has a period of mandatory supervised release of 3 years to life and must register as a sex offender. Watts was initially arrested on the charges on April 27, 2020 by Pike County Sheriff’s Deputies after a month-long investigation.

KHQA reports that Watts appealed the circuit court’s decision to the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court. The Appellate Court upheld the lower court’s decision in an order from December 15, 2022. he convictions were then appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court delivered its mandate to the Appellate Court effective last Wednesday.

Former Pike County State’s Attorney and current Associate Judge Zachary Boren told KHQA that significant resources were used in Watts’ case for the conviction. Boren thanked Pike County Chief Deputy Zack Orr, the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, the Pittsfield Police Department, the Illinois State Police Crime Laboratory, Blessing Hospital, and the Jacksonville Police Department for their coordinated efforts.

Boren says what was particularly powerful in the case was that testimony was given by 3 other sexual assault victims admitted under the Illinois propensity statute. Boren commended all three for facing their alleged abuser with courage and in support of one another.

Boren says additional appeal options, including post-conviction petitions, remain available to Watts to pursue.