Man gets retrial in Fayette County sexual assault case

FAYETTE COUNTY — A Fayette County jury was slated to be seated Monday morning, in the retrial of a Mattoon man who was convicted in 2010 on charges of criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a family member between the ages of 13 and 16.

Thomas Oakley
Thomas Oakley

In his appeal 50-year-old Thomas Oakley claimed that due to mistaken advice by his attorney, he unwittingly waived his right to a jury trial, and was instead tried in a bench trial by a judge.

Defense counsel also discussed with Oakley his opinion that jurors in such cases are too emotional, and he was concerned about the accuser’s family being politically connected in the county.
 
Oakley and his fiancée testified that the defense lawyer told them the state would be limited to only consider a particular time-frame for the alleged 300 sexual assaults over a two-year period, but that was not the case and the judge denied a petition seeking that restriction.
 
Oakley was subsequently sentenced to 8-years in prison, but the conviction was reversed and remanded back to Fayette County for retrial. Oakley is currently free on bond.