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McCullough found not guilty in 50-year-old rape case

DeKalb County Courthouse, Sycamore, Illinois
Susan Stephens
DeKalb County Courthouse, Sycamore, Illinois


The DeKalb County State's Attorney lashed out at a judge Thursday, after a Seattle man was acquitted of rape charges. 

Jack McCullough was found not guilty by judge Robbin Stuckert in a bench trial.  The 72-year-old McCullough was accused of assaulting his half-sister in Sycamore 50-years ago.  The judge called out prosecutors for not asking key questions during the accuser's testimony, including why it took so long for her to tell authorities about the alleged incident.  But, State's Attorney, Clay Campbell, says his hands were tied.

"I find it to be a travesty of justice, to be told as the State's Attorney, that I should have asked questions that would have violated the court's own order."

Campbell also criticized the judge for not giving enough credit to testimony from a Washington State woman who said she was assaulted by McCullough in 1982.  McCullough pleaded guilty to a reduced charge in that case.  

Meanwhile, Public Defender, Regina Harris, explained how she thinks seeking a bench trial, rather than going before a jury, factored into the verdict.  She says this case was more about the law, than it was about the facts.

"The facts in the case would be very emotional, and juries are impacted a great deal by emotion and not necessarily by what the legal premises are, that are supposed to apply.  So, my feeling was that in a case where it's really about how the law going to be applied, that is a case you put to a judge."

Judge Stuckert will preside over McCullough's kidnapping and murder trial for the death of a 7-year-old Sycamore girl in 1957.  A law expert at DePaul University says it might be difficult for prosecutors to get a different judge to handle that case, if they make that request.