JONESBORO - Nearly half of the Union County defendants currently sitting in jail are charged with felony sex crimes.

Five men - Mickey Davis, Gregory McCord, Milas Morse, Terry Porter and Rickey Webster- are awaiting trial and county officials said there is no rhyme or reason behind what may appear to be a sudden surge of sexual assaults.

All of the men are from Southern Illinois and were charged in the last four months. All of the suspects knew the victims and four of the five alleged sex crimes were committed against juveniles, the reason behind a judge's decision to impound or prevent public access to the court files.

Mickey Davis, 33, of Anna was charged in October with five counts of criminal sexual assault, including one predatory and one aggravated count. He is accused of committing acts of sexual penetration with a victim who was under the age of 18 at the time of the crimes.

According to the indictment, the charges stem from incidents that reportedly took place between 2000 and 2007. Union County State's Attorney Allen James said Davis was found unfit for trial last month and his status will be reviewed in 90 days.

Gregory McCord, 46, of Jonesboro was charged late last month with two counts of criminal sexual assault, one count of child pornography and one count of unlawfully possessing a weapon as a felon. He is accused of committing an act of sexual penetration with a victim who was under the age of 18 during the years of 2006 and 2007.

James said officials are investigating similar accusations against McCord outside of Union County; the alleged acts involve the same victim.

Milas Morse, 66, of Jonesboro is charged with one count of predatory criminal sexual assault, a Class X felony. The indictment alleges that in December, Morse committed an act of sexual penetration with a victim who was 4 years old at the time.

James said at least four people, most of whom are members of Morse's family, have been charged with harassing a witness to the case or obstructing police officers.

Terry Porter, 36, of Caseyville was charged Jan. 3 with aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated domestic battery and unlawful restraint. He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in the early morning hours of Jan. 1.

Court documents stated that Porter told police the victim willingly had sex with him. The victim told police she ran to a neighbor's house sometime after the incident and was then taken to the emergency room.

Rickey Webster, 43, of Anna was charged in October with predatory criminal sexual assault. According to court information, he committed an act of sexual penetration with a victim who was 5 years old at the time of the January 2007 incident.

James said Webster has a previous history of similar charges. In 1994, he was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual assault and sentenced to 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, according to county's court Web site.

Predatory and aggravated criminal sexual assault charges are Class X felonies, which can be punishable by a six-to-30-year prison sentence. Criminal sexual assault is a Class 1 felony and carries a possible four-to-15-year prison sentence.

bethany.krajelis@thesouthern.com

351-5816

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