BENTON — It has been nearly two years and Christopher Hampton still has no trial date.
Hampton, a former Franklin County deputy, was charged in October 2017 with criminal sexual assault and custodial misconduct for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in January 2016 who had been arrested and was in his custody. Court documents indicate the alleged victim was legally intoxicated at the time.
After being told of the allegations, then Franklin County Sheriff Don Jones asked the Illinois State Police to handle the investigation. State’s Attorney Evan Owens also recused himself.
Hampton is out on bond and represented by attorney Aaron Hopkins. A resolution in the matter has been belabored by discovery issues.
After a 1:30 p.m. hearing Wednesday, proceedings for the case were again pushed back. Talking after court Wednesday, Hopkins said the state was working with an expert who is tracking data that would provide locations for all the involved parties in the case.
When asked if he was doing the same thing, Hopkins said he was waiting to see what the state’s expert comes back with. Hopkins said, “If the expert finds the truth, then it will be dispositive” and exonerate Hampton.
The next hearing will be 1:30 p.m. Aug. 21.
A preliminary hearing in October 2017 established the timeline for the alleged offense. It was alleged that Hampton, after responding to a call with other officers, transported the alleged victim after she was arrested for underage consumption — she had a blood alcohol content of .186 based on a breathalyzer test — and endangerment of a child.
According to testimony from Trooper Special Agent Farrin Melton of the Illinois State Police, the victim testified that the two began talking about having sex when she said he pulled the car over on a rural Franklin County road.
Melton testified that Hampton told the alleged victim, “We will have to make this quick,” before he allegedly assaulted her. However, the information sheet filed in the court says that Hampton would not have been able to receive consent from the victim because of her intoxication.
Melton said during an interview with Hampton that he admitted to having sex with the woman while he was on duty, but not on the day in question — he said it was two days prior. Melton said Hampton said that it was consensual — testimony explained that Hampton said he saw the woman walking about 3 a.m. Jan. 14 and after speaking with her, took her to a West Frankfort park, where they allegedly had sex.
However, the victim told authorities she was out of town until just prior to her arrest and denied Hampton’s story.