CHARLESTON -- A request from the victim's mother helped lead to a man accused of sexually abusing a boy pleading guilty to a reduced charge, according to the case's prosecutor.
Keon D. Cooper was accused of engaging in an act of sexual conduct with the boy, who was 7 years old at the time, at the boy's home in Mattoon on March 1.
Cooper, 25, for whom court records list an address of "homeless" in Mattoon, was originally charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a felony offense.
With the agreement reached in his case, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor attempt charge and was placed on probation for two years.
The original charge could have brought a prison sentence of three to seven years with a conviction, though prison time wouldn't have been required.
Coles County Assistant State's Attorney Tom Bucher, who prosecuted the case, said the boy's mother's input helped lead him to agree to the reduced charge.
The mother requested that Cooper not receive a severe sentence, Bucher said. He said he thought the outcome was appropriate "given the entirety of the case."
Bucher also mentioned the amount of time Cooper had been in jail since his arrest in March. There were also issues about Cooper's mental condition, though those ultimately didn't have any legal effect on the case.
At one point, a psychologist's evaluation determined that Cooper wasn't mentally fit to stand trial on the charge. Mental fitness for trial addresses whether suspects are able to understand the charge and help with their defense.
Cooper spent time at an Illinois Department of Human Services mental health facility and the treatment led to his eventually being deemed mentally fit for trial.
Terms of Cooper's probation sentence included evaluations for sex offender and substance abuse treatment and a requirement that he follow the evaluations' recommendations.
Circuit Judge Brien O'Brien accepted Cooper's guilty plea and imposed the sentence based on the plea agreement recommendation from Bucher and Public Defender Anthony Ortega.