Judge finds drunk defendant in contempt, then jury convicts him on felonies
URBANA — A Rantoul man convicted of inappropriately touching a female neighbor faces up to six years in prison when he's sentenced next month.
But Dean Chadwick, 54, of the 100 block of East Sangamon Avenue, will serve his sentence for criminal sexual abuse and unlawful restraint after he serves one for indirect criminal contempt for showing up for trial drunk.
A Champaign County jury convicted him Thursday of the two felonies.
However, on Wednesday morning, Champaign County Judge Harry Clem found Chadwick to be in indirect criminal contempt of court after he showed up for his trial intoxicated. Chadwick was also 25 minutes late and then lied to Clem about his drinking.
Jurors who had been selected on Tuesday to hear his trial were sitting in a jury room unaware of what was transpiring in court.
When Clem asked Chadwick if he had drunk any alcohol Wednesday morning, Chadwick replied that he had not but that he had drunk Tuesday night.
Assistant State's Attorney Scott Larson suggested that Chadwick be tested so as not to have any issues that could be appealed in the event of his conviction.
Chadwick's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jim Kuehl, walked his client down the hall to the probation office, where Chadwick's breath-alcohol concentration was measured at 0.257 percent — more than three times the limit for a motorist to be presumed intoxicated in Illinois.
After the judge heard the figure, he ordered Chadwick sent to jail for being drunk, adding that "it was not a good idea for you to lie to the court."
Clem then continued the trial to Thursday morning and excused the jurors for the day without explaining why.
The jury heard closing arguments Thursday morning and arrived at their verdicts after about an hour.
Testimony in the otherwise brief trial came from Chadwick's 26-year-old neighbor who explained that she and Chadwick often shared leftovers and cigarettes.
On July 12, he invited her over to eat ribs. Once she was in his apartment, the conversation took on a sexual tone and the woman said Chadwick grabbed her tank top, pulling on it, making contact with her breasts. He also grabbed her shorts. When she tried to leave, he held her by the arm, she said.
The woman got out of the apartment and contacted a friend, who reported the incident to Rantoul police.
Police testified as they were interviewing the woman in her apartment, they opened the door to find Chadwick listening outside.
Because of a prior conviction for forcible sex abuse in Utah in 1996, Chadwick faces an extended term of up to six years in prison on the Class 4 felony convictions. He could also receive probation.
Clem set sentencing for Oct. 28.