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Woodstock teens remain jailed on sex charges

Published: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 5:44 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 5:54 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Provided photo)
James Cornelius (left) and Corion Simpson

WOODSTOCK – Police believe Woodstock High School students were drinking alcohol when they allegedly sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl, videotaped it and posted the footage on Facebook.

The alleged victim, who is from McHenry County, but not from Woodstock, also is believed to have been consuming alcohol.

Corion V. Simpson and James Cornelius, both 18 and of Woodstock, remained in custody Wednesday in lieu of $80,000 bond. Two other juveniles who also were charged had been released to their parents.

A sexual assault awareness advocate said the case sounds all too familiar – sexual violence where alcohol was involved.

"If a survivor is drinking alcohol, that is not an excuse for someone to lay a hand on her," said Shelley Pier, services manager at the Care Center, a rape crisis center in McHenry County.

All four teens were arrested at noon Tuesday. Woodstock Police served them with a warrant at Woodstock High School without incident, Chief Robert Lowen said. Simpson and Cornelius were juniors at the school; the juveniles were not named.

District 200 officials wouldn't say whether any of the students had been or would face possible discipline at school.

According to police, Simpson, Cornelius and a juvenile boy sexually assaulted the girl while another juvenile videotaped the alleged incident. For that, the second juvenile was charged with possession of child pornography, and Simpson with intimidation.

The most serious charge against Simpson, Cornelius, and the juvenile is criminal sexual assault, a crime that's punishable by four to 15 years in prison.

Authorities were notified in late February of the incident that allegedly happened Dec 27. The girl's father alerted police after learning that the video had been posted to Facebook.

The video had been taken down before police initiated their investigation. Lowen said the footage was found on a cell phone belonging to one of the teenagers.

Cornelius has had dealings with the court before. He was sentenced to 50 hours of home community service for a battery that happened in November at Woodstock High School. Court records indicate he completed the hours.

According to a Woodstock City Manager newsletter, Cornelius had an interest in law enforcement and, as recently as March 11, had shadowed a Woodstock police officer for a day.

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