DECATUR — A tearful boy clutched a teddy bear in court on Tuesday as he testified about enduring repeated rapes and sexual abuse while in the clutches of a 70-year-old Decatur man.

The boy, who had occasion to visit regularly the home of John T. McKown, said he would be assaulted in the bathroom from the age of 6 through 11.

“It happened a lot,” said the boy. “Every time I visited there.” He said McKown coerced him with threats to hurt him or his family and also tried to buy his silence with promised trips to Disney World.

McKown, arrested in January 2018, has pleaded not guilty in Macon County Circuit Court to three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and five counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and a charge of possession of child pornography.

A bench trial is being conducted before Judge Thomas Griffith, and the boy was the first witness called by Assistant State’s Attorney, Kate Kurtz. He had come into the court accompanied by eight members of the organization “Bikers Against Child Abuse,” which provides emotional support to abuse victims.

Asked to describe the alleged assaults against him in detail, the boy became upset. “It makes me feel sad; I don’t like to talk about this,” he said. “I have made myself forget about it.”

Public defender Tiffany Senger told the court that the boy’s testimony about what happened, which she tried to show had changed on different occasions, was unreliable and could not be trusted.

“... And the court is well aware that just because a person says something doesn’t mean it’s true,” Senger said.

Kurtz earlier described McKown as a sexual predator who initially denied any abusive contact with the boy but later admitted it under police questioning, as outlined in a sworn affidavit from Decatur police detective Eric Matthews.

That affidavit describes McKown as telling Matthews he had long harbored a “fantasy” about sex with children. Matthews said a corner of McKown’s basement he called his “man cave” was decorated with pictures of children’s faces cut from magazines and defaced with pornographic images.

The trial continues today (Wednesday). McKown is being held in the Macon County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond.

2019 mug shots from the Herald & Review

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Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


Macon County Courts Reporter

Macon County courts reporter for the Herald & Review.

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