Friday, October 17, 2008

John D. Stufflebeam - Pedophile GUILTY - as children cry for justice

Nolan said the little boys in the pictures observed by the jury from the computer are from other places, but, "Here in Tazewell County, one boy stands up and cries no more.

"His second cry is to you asking for justice," Nolan told the jury.

When all was said and done in the three-day trial of sexual predator John D. Stufflebeam, the jury looked to the little boy who was brave enough to say the man he fondly called John-John or Dad was the man who had violated him.

"It came down to do we believe this 6-year old boy or not believe him?" said juror Jerry Fisher of East Peoria after the trial ended.

"We unanimously thought he was truthful and honest even though he was only 6 years old. We looked at the evidence again (during deliberations) and looked at the video (of the boy's Tazewell County Children's Advocacy interview) two or three times, but we still only needed one vote."

John D. Stufflebeam, 28, of 803 S. Fourth St., Greenville, was convicted Thursday in 10th Judicial Circuit Court of two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, both Class X felonies. He will be sentenced at 9 a.m. on Dec. 19. Stufflebeam is also under investigation by the FBI and the U.S. State's Attorney's Office in regard to child pornography found on his computer and his use of chat rooms to communicate with other pedophiles.

As the jury filed in to render its verdict, Stufflebeam remained motionless and stared at the jury members, though they did not return his gaze. Stufflebeam showed no emotion as he heard the verdict. He faces six to 30 years in prison on each count.

In final arguments Thursday, Tazewell County Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen Nolan told jurors that Stufflebeam's victim, who was 4 at the time of the abuse, was consistent in his statements to law enforcement officials and in his testimony before the jury in reference to how Stufflebeam assaulted him.

Defense attorney Kirk Bode said he will file an appeal within the 30-day time frame based on denial of motions he presented prior to trial to keep evidence of prior allegations of sexual abuse and various images gathered from Stufflebeam's computer from being presented to the jury.

Final arguments

Nolan went through the testimony of the little boy, reminding the jury of the interview the boy had with Tazewell County Children's Advocacy Center Executive Director and forensic interviewer Barb Strand, in which the boy identified John-John as his abuser and motioned to indicate what Stufflebeam had done to him.

Nolan said the boy told Strand what he did and now the boy has told "you."

"(The boy) has no reason to lie about this," said Nolan. "He had no reason to lie to (his mother and sister), he had no reason to lie to Barb Strand and he had no reason to lie to you."

Nolan also referred to chats that Stufflebeam had with a man, known as Redfox, in a known pedophile chat room. Stufflebeam told the man that he had a 4-year-old boy living with him and that they had been touching each other. Redfox relied, "Does your wife know?"

"No, not a clue," said Stufflebeam. "She would kill me if she knew."

The Internet child pornography images were downloaded to Stufflebeam's computer between the dates of June 11 and June 18, 2007. On June 20, said Nolan, the little boy was molested in the same manner as was depicted in the pornographic images. Nolan said Stufflebeam acted out the behaviors he viewed in the pictures.

In the Internet chats, Stufflebeam and Redfox made reference to images in child porn being hot, being awesome.

"It's not hot, it's not awesome," Nolan said. Nolan said in Illinois the term for "it" is predatory criminal sexual assault.

Another alleged victim of Stufflebeam's sexual assaults, referred to as "Lisa" in previous Daily Times' stories, told the jury Wednesday that Stufflebeam had molested her from age 6 to 12. When the family moved to Belleville, his molestation of Lisa ceased. Stufflebeam's wife (the mother of "Lisa"), had met a new friend, the mother of the young boy he would later molest, said Nolan.

Defense argument

Bode, in final arguments, commented on the evidence that he said should not have been allowed in the trail.

"It's really not fair," said Bode. "I know the judge let all of this evidence in, but it really isn't fair in giving the defendant a fair trial.

"You've seen stuff you probably wish you had never seen or want to ever see again."

Bode told the jury that Stufflebeam was not on trial for sexually molesting two young girls or for possession of child pornography, saying that is for another time, another court, another date.

Bode told the jury there was reasonable doubt in the case, saying that the boy's statements were full of inconsistencies related to the date and who was in the room when the assault happened.

Bode told the jury not to be distracted by the images they saw in the child pornography pictures, possibly allowing themselves to think Stufflebeam is a twisted and disgusting individual, so he must be guilty.

"I'm not picking on a 6-year-old boy," said Bode. He said his concern was the limitations of a 6-year-old in communicating details.

The fact that family members did not call the police until hours after they found out about the abuse also made the case suspect, as did the several months between the allegations and an arrest, said Bode. He said when police arrived at the home, the boy was not exhibiting any signs of being traumatized and he wasn't crying.

"He was more interested in getting back to his cartoons," said Bode.

Bode also questioned why the East Peoria police did not tape record an interview with Stufflebeam and why they went to Graham Hospital in Canton after Stufflebeam tried to commit suicide because of the stress he was under.

Bode said police were told he had nothing more to say.

Bode said the police knew they did not have enough evidence for an arrest and were hoping for a confession to clinch the case.

"I think the delay in the charging of the case says it all," said Bode.

Bode also questioned Strand's interview strategy with the boy as she mentioned "nasty games" and who was in the room when the assault happened.

"(Strand) had read the reports, she knew where she needed to go and she's an agent of the prosecution," said Bode.

In her final statement to the jury, Nolan said the testimony of the two alleged prior victims was relevant to the case because it established a pattern, saying "past conduct is a gateway into the future."

Nolan said the delay in charges was related to gathering information and examining the computer that Stufflebeam used to download child pornography. She said the prosecution did not want to leave the child on his own - they needed supporting evidence. She said the evidence gathered was not a fabrication.

"This is not CSI - we can't create evidence," said Nolan. "Before we put a child on the witness stand there has to be other evidence so he is not standing alone."

Nolan said the little boys in the pictures observed by the jury from the computer are from other places, but, "Here in Tazewell County, one boy stands up and cries no more.

"His second cry is to you asking for justice," Nolan told the jury.

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