DECATUR, Ill., (WCIA) — A Decatur couple accused of sex crimes has been formally charged.
Douglas Nichols, 54, and Kelly Nichols, 52, were charged with sexual assault and child pornography. Until Tuesday, the case was sealed to the public.
The couple was in court on Tuesday morning, facing a grand jury.
This is all related to the same crimes when they turned themselves in in December.
Scott Rueter, Macon County State’s Attorney, said because of the grand jury indictment, the case was sealed at first. That’s standard operation.
“We can use the grand jury as more of an investigatory body. We can use them to get witnesses in front of the grand jury, get their testimony locked in under oath,” Rueter said.
He added that the grand jury also helps get a read on what citizens of the community think of the charges.
Douglas Nichols is facing sexual assault and abuse charges for victims ranging from adults to teenagers.
His wife, Kelly Nichols, is accused of pornography charges, one of them a class X felony.
“If you look at the language of that particular charge, it involves the manufacture of child pornography,” Rueter said. “That is of course deemed to be more serious than simple possession. They’re both very serious, but obviously, the manufacturing is much more serious. That’s the kind of activity you want to stop.”
Reuter said the next steps include a pre-trial, it’s one way they help manage the case. It tells the judge if they are ready for trial or not.
The Decatur Police Department is the only agency involved.
If convicted, Reuter said Kelly Nichols faces 6-30 years in prison, Douglas 4-15 years.