Markham man charged with sexual assault ordered to appear in Ogle County court in person next week

Armon Pearson

OREGON – A Markham man accused of sexual assaulting a 17-year-old girl in Polo in December 2022 failed to appear in person in court Wednesday and was ordered to appear next week.

Armon D. Pearson, 23, was supposed to appear in court with his attorney for a preliminary hearing, but when the case was called, Pearson appeared remotely. His attorney, Brian Erwin, appeared in person in front of Judge John Redington in a courtroom at the Ogle County Judicial Center.

When asked by Redington why Pearson was not appearing in person, Erwin said: “He thought he had court tomorrow.”

“This is a very serious manner,” Redington told Pearson. “Forgetting your court date is just stupid.”

Redington continued the hearing to 10 a.m. Feb. 14 and told Pearson that he would have to appear in court in person or face arrest.

Assistant State’s Attorney Matthew Leisten did not object to the continuance.

Pearson is charged with the criminal sexual assault of a girl in Polo on Dec. 13, 2022.

An arrest warrant first was issued in July, when the charge was filed, and Pearson’s bond was set at $150,000, meaning he would have to post 10%, or $15,000, to be released.

He was arrested Dec. 22, 2023, and first appeared in court Dec. 26 and again Dec. 27, in shackles and handcuffs, wearing an orange jumpsuit issued to Ogle County Correctional Center inmates.

As part of the state’s SAFE-T Act, Pearson asked to be released from custody without bond as his case proceeds through the court system.

The new law allows defendants to be released on a no-cash bond, but judges still decide whether a defendant is a flight risk or poses too much of a threat to one person or the community to allow release.

At the Dec. 27 detention hearing, Leisten argued that Pearson should not be released from custody because criminal sexual assault qualifies as a “detainable offense.”

In making his argument to Redington, Leisten said police reports indicated that the assault took place on the south end of Polo about 10:50 p.m. at or near the Village Inn Motel.

Leisten said the victim told police that Pearson put his hand over her mouth and said he “would kill her” if she made noise. Leisten said she told police that she was raped twice.

Leisten told the court that the girl was taken to KSB for sexual assault testing, with those results being sent to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab.

Motel records indicated that Pearson had registered for a room for one night Dec. 13, 2022, Leisten said.

When questioned by Chicago Metro Police, Leisten said Pearson denied knowing the girl or having been in or knowing of Polo or Ogle County.

Pearson also told Chicago investigators that he had been texting with a Polo girl on the internet with the dating app Plenty of Fish, Leisten said.

He said Pearson told police that he thought he had “hooked up” with her and acknowledged that they had sex.

Pearson’s past criminal history includes a charge of battery in Kane County in 2020, Leisten said.

Ogle County Public Defender Michael O’Brien represented Pearson in court at the December detention hearing and argued that the girl was “unclear” to police on where the alleged assault took place. He argued that Pearson maintains the girl “made the first move.”

O’Brien asked Redington to consider releasing Pearson with strict conditions.

Redington agreed to release Pearson with the conditions that he not have any contact with the alleged victim.

He also told Pearson that he could not be within the city limits of Polo “under any circumstances” while the case is pending.

Pearson appeared in person before Judge Clayton Lindsey on Jan. 10, and Erwin asked for a continuance to Feb. 7.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen Hinton

Earleen creates content and oversees production of 8 community weeklies. She has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.