VERMILION COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — A judge turned down a man in Vermilion County trying to prove his innocence.
Jason Matthews pleaded guilty to a sexual assault charge 20 years ago, but he said he did not do it. He said he just recently got in touch with the victim in the case.
For years, the two never talked to each other. That is because she thought he hated her.
Matthews was facing felony charges for sexually assaulting Nikita Holmes. She was a minor at the time. Matthews and Holmes both said it never happened.
Matthews was faced with serving time or taking a plea deal. He took the deal. But now this conviction is on his record, stopping him from getting a job or even picking his kids up from school.
He is trying to clear his name by showing that Holmes said the assault did not happen. However, on Tuesday in court, a judge dismissed his case.
“If you run my name, I come up like Christmas lights,” said Matthews. “Just showing that I’m a pedophile, a rapist, the victim was 12 years old. That’s what it shows. That’s a good thing if it’s true. That information needs to be out there. But if it’s not true, that’s very dangerous.”
Matthews’ argument is that investigators never interviewed Holmes back in the day. Holmes said the same thing.
That is why this case is coming up now, because he is considering Holmes’ statement new evidence. WCIA talked to the state’s attorney. She said Holmes was interviewed and that Matthews provided a full confession, which you cannot retract 20 years later.
Matthews is still trying to contact legislators to get his conviction removed. He said he contacted the governor and lieutenant governor, but has not heard back.
This case first came about when Holmes was 12 and Matthews was 17. Matthews and Holmes grew up together and hung out. They both said Holmes’ mother had issues with Matthews and she likely filed a police report about him. But she said she does not remember doing that.