Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons announced James Lopes has been transferred to the Illinois Department of Corrections
At a dispositional hearing on July 3rd, Judge Schroeder transferred guardianship to the Illinois Department of Corrections. Lopes has been transported out of the Madison County Jail into an IDOC facility specifically designed for sex offenders, where he may remain indefinitely.
In January, a Madison County jury rendered a verdict finding James Lopes a Sexually Dangerous Person.
Lopes made headlines last year when he shot a series of online videos in a Collinsville park where he discussed sexual relations with children as a religious rite. He was charged with three counts of grooming, a Class 4 felony, after he allegedly handed out cards last spring, directing people to his videos. Lopes was also charged with several misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and trespassing after he allegedly approached young girls. He was previously charged with similar crimes in Oregon.
The petition to declare Lopes a Sexually Dangerous Person was filed by the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office with the Circuit Court on April 27, 2016. Declaring Lopes a Sexually Dangerous Person is a civil action, not a criminal charge, which requires a jury trial. Jurors deliberated for 43 minutes before returning a declaration of Sexually Dangerous.
State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons expressed his happiness with the verdict, stating: “I want to thank the members of the jury for their service and the verdict they returned today. I also want to recognize the extraordinary work of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and the attorneys from our Children’s Justice Division. Their commitment to justice allowed us to secure this verdict that will ensure the safety of the children of our community by keeping this dangerous predator behind bars indefinitely.”
Assistant State’s Attorney’s Kathleen Nolan, Chief of the Children’s Justice Division, and Alison Foley, of the Children’s Justice Division, presented evidence during the trial to support the State’s petition to declare Lopes Sexually Dangerous. Lopes elected to represent himself, refusing the assistance of a Court-appointed attorney. Jurors heard testimony from two witnesses of a 2012 incident in Portland, Oregon. In that case, Lopes was charged with Attempted Sex Abuse against an 8 year old girl. Two independent mental health experts also testified regarding their evaluations completed to determine whether or not Lopes meets the state standards for a declaration of Sexually Dangerous. Their opinions agreed that he is sexually dangerous and that the severity and complexity of his mental health diagnosis makes it unlikely that he could be successfully treated or rehabilitated.
Lopes has remained in custody at the Madison County Jail since his arrest by Madison County Sheriff’s Deputies in April 2016.