An Alton man has been convicted of sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s 5-year-old child.
James A. Steele, 48, was convicted of two counts of predatory sexual assault of a child, a Class X felony, on Thursday. He was accused of sexually assaulting his then-girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter in 2012. Charges were brought after the child’s mother reported the allegations to the Alton Police Department.
Prosecutors Kathleen Nolan and Ali Foley of the Children’s Justice Division presented medical evidence during the two-day trial, including DNA evidence. The jury deliberated approximately 90 minutes before returning a guilty verdict on both counts.
Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons said the evidence was “extraordinarily graphic and difficult to hear.” He said his office will seek “a very lengthy” sentence for Steele.
“I hope that this result will aid in the healing process for this little girl, who showed such bravery in coming forward and disclosing the heinous assault by the defendant,” Gibbons said. “She is a role model for other victims who may be afraid to report their abuse. We pray that her bravery will give hope to other victims who may be suffering in silence.”
Madison County Associate Judge Neil Schroeder revoked Steele’s bail pending sentencing. He will remain in custody at the Madison County Jail, where he has been held since his arrest in 2013.
He faces six to 30 years in prison, but may be eligible for up to 60 years due to aggravating factors in the case.