State submits motion for samples to be taken in Fort case
SALINE CO.—Representing the Saline County State’s Attorney’s office, assistant prosecutor Eva Walker this morning has submitted a request for DNA samples per Illinois Supreme Court Rule 413 in the case of Todd Fort, chief deputy of Saline Co. and Harrisburg School Board president.
Fort stands charged with four Class 1 felony counts of Criminal Sexual Assault, and four Class 3 felony counts of Official Misconduct. It is alleged that he had sexual encounters with a 17-year-old girl in both May and July, which resulted in his arrest early Tuesday morning, July 20.
He has been jailed in Murphysboro at the Jackson County Detention Center and was brought to Harrisburg this morning for his first court appearance.
Following the requisite reading of the charges and possible punishment for each by the judge, Fort’s attorney, Bryan Drew, accepted paperwork on the motion this morning during Fort’s first appearance, held in the small courtroom of the Saline County Detention Center and not in the Saline County Courthouse.
With a capacity crowd producing standing-room-only to watch the hearing, Walker presented the motion without explanation, and the attorneys discussed whether this needed to be set for a hearing or if the samples would be given voluntarily without the need for any further court settings.
The state, Drew pointed out, does maintain the right to ask for samples according to the Supreme Court rule. Therefore, Drew said “I anticipate we’ll have an agreed order.” Nevertheless, a hearing was set for the matter next week, July 29.
The filing brings up an interesting possibility, and one that has not been even hinted at, let alone presented, up to this point: That there may have been a rape kit test done on the alleged victim in the case during the afternoon of Monday, July 19, after Fort was allegedly spotted driving in Harrisburg with the girl in his squad. The girl’s father was the one reportedly spotting them, and gave chase, kicking off the events of this week.
If what the father believed to be true WAS—that he had just caught his daughter leaving from a sexual encounter with Fort—that would be the optimum time to perform a rape kit test on the girl, and would give investigators plenty of impetus to move forward with not only the investigation, but the pursuing of Rule 413 filing.
While the state has the right to request DNA sampling for inclusion in a database, usually that’s done for future matters that may arise after there’s a conviction on a sex offense, then release back into the general populace.
That it’s been brought up now might lend to the notion that there may already be samples with which to compare whatever is obtained from Fort under 413.
Again, there’s been no official mention of it. But it remains a possibility.
NOTE: Please don’t make the mistake that because it’s called a “rape kit” test that authorities are alleging rape. That’s just a common term for the medical items that hospitals and law enforcement authorities use to determine ANY type of sexual activity on a person, forced or otherwise. We don’t know what the items are medically called otherwise, that’s just what we know them to be called.
More as the day progresses…keep checking back…
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