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The Courier News, January 23, 1999
By Gloria Carr
Staff Writer
He said it was consensual sex. She said it was rape. A jury Friday found him not guilty.

Ritchie Wilson, 29, of Elgin, was acquitted of criminal sexual assault and two counts of criminal sexual abuse involving a Hanover Park teen-ager in 1997.

“Rape is an easy charge to make and a hard charge to defend because it’s a he said/she said proposition,” defense attorney Kathleen Colton said during closing arguments in 16th Circuit Court Associate Judge Donald Hudson courtroom.

But Wilson’s case wasn’t about power, coercion of force as prosecutors argued, it was about sex, she said.

“Maybe at the time they has sex, it seemed the right thing to do. The next day she regretted it,” Colton said.

The victim was a 15-year-old high school freshman when she met Wilson outside a friend’s Elgin home in 1997. She testified this week she called him on the night of Dec. 11 for a ride.

The two stopped in an Elgin industrial park after Wilson picked her up and talked for several hours. During the conversation the two argued but the teen remained in Wilson’s vehicle. Later, he took her to his Times Square apartment where he lived with his mother.

Wilson woke the teen up as she slept on his living room floor early on Dec. 12 and wanted to have sex, the teen said. She said he showed her a gun, made her hold it and told her to get undressed. He put the gun away and told her to read for him, she said. She did what he said and he raped her, the teen testified.

“She did not consent to sex,” prosecutor Scott Larson said. “She complied to sex in the face of the power of life and death.

Colton argued the sex was consensual and the teen told Wilson she was 18 years old. Wilson testified he’d seen an identification card with her birth date in her purse and cigarettes. The teen told him she recently had “taken herself” to have an abortion, which reaffirmed his belief she was legally and adult because minors can’t have abortions without parental consent.

Wilson said he never had a gun or threatened the girl. His mother testified there were no guns inside the apartment because Wilson’s brother, Sean Barrett, had been murdered.

Jurors took less than two hours to find Wilson not guilty.

“I’m very happy obviously.” Colton said. “Mr. Wilson’s position has been all along he believed she was 18 and she consented.

Colton said Wilson was scheduled to be released Friday afternoon. He had been held on $250,000 bail since December 1997.

“He’s very happy, he’s had a baby since he’s been in custody who he hasn’t been able to hold.” She said. “He did tell me he intended to move out of Elgin.