BELLEVILLE — After deliberating less than two hours, a St. Clair County jury on Thursday convicted a former Air Force lieutenant colonel and ex-Boy Scout volunteer of all 12 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child lodged against him.
The jury got the case about noon following dramatic closing statements by lawyers for both sides.
Jon L. Demers, 55, faced the felony charges in connection to alleged sexual abuse of several male juveniles in his own family. He did not testify.
After the jury was dismissed with thanks by Circuit Judge Jan Fiss, Demer's bond was revoked and he was taken into custody and handcuffed. Demers could be sentenced to 3-7 years on each charge, which could run consecutively meaning he theoretically could be sentenced to 84 years although that is unlikely. He could also receive probation.
Closing statements by Assistant State's Attorney's Anna Ackerman-Young and Laura Reppert concentrated on previous trial testimony by a teenage boy who said Demers began fondling him beginning when he was 8 or 9 years old.
Reppert, who spoke last, held up a statement that Demers allegedly made to a police officer which she said contained his admission that he used his hand to sexually gratify the juvenile.
Reppert, facing the jury, said they should convict Demers, "Because he admitted to everything," in the statement to police. Reppert told the jurors that when a detective asked why he would do such a thing to a minor, Demers replied, according to the police statement, "I thought they liked it."
Robert Bas, the attorney for Demers, focused on what he said were questionable statements by the juvenile, now a teenager, who took the stand against his client.
Bas asked the jury if it made sense to them that Demers would rub the boy's stomach for three hours, masturbate him for 20 minutes, and other family members and friends would never notice. Bas said according to the youth's testimony, this scenario played out over months and years.
"I ask you to apply the law to the facts," he told the jury.
Demers, who lives in the portion of Collinsville that lies within St. Clair County, was suspended from a civilian job at Scott Air Force Base that he took after retiring from the Air Force. He was charged in 2011.
Prior to the allegations, Demers was a volunteer for Boy Scout Troop 520 in Belleville. He was removed in April 2011 as a merit badge counselor shortly after the organization's leaders learned of the charges.
Contact reporter George Pawlaczyk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2625.