Salem man sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexual assault of 11-year-old girl

MARION COUNTY — A 40-year-old Salem man was sentenced Wednesday in Marion County Court to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl.

Eric Bullard (Source: MCSO)
Eric Bullard
(Source: MCSO)

Eric Bullard pleaded guilty Wednesday to one of two Class X felony charges against him for predatory sexual assault of a victim under the age of 13, in exchange for the other count being dismissed.

According to court records, Bullard sexually abused the girl over a two-year period at his home and in Iuka. He was arrested in September by Marion County Sheriff’s deputies after the girl’s mother became aware of the situation and contacted the sheriff’s office.

Reports indicate Bullard knew the victim prior to the sexual assaults. Because of a prior conviction, Bullard could have faced between 6 and 60 years in prison on each count and if found guilty of both counts, the sentences would have had to run consecutive to each other so he could have been sentenced up to 120 years in prison had the case proceeded to jury trial.

Bullard has remained in the Marion County Jail since his September arrest with bail set at $250,000. Following his guilty plea he was returned to the county jail where he will await transport to the Illinois Department of Corrections.