SYCAMORE – His hands folded on a desk, Ivan Faunce nodded with approval as DeKalb County Judge William Brady thanked the jury Friday, moments after their verdict was read: not guilty.
Faunce, 40, was charged in April 2017, with aggravated criminal sexual assault and two counts of criminal sexual assault against a Sycamore woman he met through Tinder.
His public defender, Chip Criswell, said in many ways preparing for a four-day rape trial isn’t different from any other trial in which he’s trying to protect his client’s Constitutional rights.
“Cases like this, when I know the verdict should be not guilty, it’s emotionally taxing, waiting to make sure they get it right,” Criswell said.
It took the jury about three hours to come back with a verdict of not guilty on all three counts.
Faunce, dressed in black pants, a white shirt and a black and white tie, hugged Criswell as the jury left the courtroom.
Only weeks ago, Criswell lamented his relationship with Faunce was “deteriorating rapidly” as the trial approached. Faunce claimed to be sick and refused multiple days to be brought from the Kendall County Jail to DeKalb County, where a motion awaited ruling to allow the victim’s sister to testify about a phone call the sister made May 27, 2016, during which the victim said she’d been raped in a trailer home in Sycamore.
Criswell said Friday in his closing statement that Faunce asked multiple times for consent to have sex in a “cramped little storage room” in trailer home after a night out, and that the victim said in her testimony he’d asked to kiss her, and then to have sex.
“That’s exactly what we’re teaching our young men to do: ask for consent,” he said. “People who commit sexual assault do not ask permission.”
Criswell told the jury the report could have stemmed from alcohol consumed that night, after the victim was pulled over about 1:30 a.m. and an officer smelled alcohol coming from the vehicle. Criswell suggested the victim might have filed the report because Faunce told her he was leaving for Montana the next day.
“Alcohol clouds your perception,” Criswell told the jury. “It clouds your memory, and it leads you to make bad decisions.”
First Assistant State’s Attorney Stephanie Klein said in her closing argument Friday that police found a broken bicycle part in the room, from when the victim struggled and grabbed at the bike while being assaulted, and that a condom was found in the trailer, as well.
Klein told the jury the victim had no benefit to report she’d been raped.
“There is no reason for her to be falsely accusing him of rape,” she said.
Faunce was arrested March 29, 2017, and booked into a Salt Lake City jail after a brief standoff with U.S. Marshals, during which he barricaded himself in an RV, in which a gun was later found, police said in court records.
Brady clarified that there’s still a federal hold for Faunce, which Criswell said likely stems from his Utah arrest.
Criswell couldn’t say exactly when Faunce will be picked up by federal officers.
“I’m done,” he said.