Real Stories Project

05/09/10: Man, 28, assaults minor girl

CBS 2 Chicago

Mar 11, 2007 10:52 am US/Central

WHEATON (Naperville Sun) ― A Naperville man faces a potential seven-year prison sentence for sexually abusing an underage Naperville girl he met on the Web site and for trying to arrange a meeting with another girl.

John R. Wentworth, who communicated with others under the screen name johnwinter78, entered a surprise "blind plea" of guilty in DuPage County Circuit Court to felony charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and indecent solicitation of a child, a spokesman for State's Attorney Joe Birkett confirmed Friday. Court records indicated the plea was entered Wednesday.

Entrance of a blind plea means Wentworth's fate will be decided by Judge Perry R. Thompson, who is scheduled to rule in the case April 10. Wentworth's potential sentence ranges from probation to as much as seven years in prison.

Wentworth, 28, had lived in the San Francisco Bay area before moving early last year to Tappingo Drive, in the Southwest Crossing area of Naperville's southwest side.

He was arrested May 9, 2006, after an undercover investigation spearheaded by the Naperville Police Department's Internet Crimes Unit. Detectives nabbed Wentworth at the western end of the city's Riverwalk, where he had gone to meet an underage Naperville girl, authorities said last year.

A grand jury indicted Wentworth for indecent solicitation of a child in that case. Jurors also indicted him for aggravated criminal sexual abuse after police determined he had had sexual contact March 2, 2006, with a 15- or 16-year-old Naperville girl at her family's home on the east side.

The police investigation concluded Wentworth used to chat with three Naperville girls younger than 17. The girl he is accused of molesting was one of those correspondents. He also contacted two local women ages 18 and 19.

A Naperville Sun investigation showed Wentworth regularly visited pornographic Web sites and allegedly posted sexually explicit photographs of himself on his home page.

Wentworth remained Friday night in DuPage County Jail, where he has been since being arrested.

(CBS 2, the Naperville Sun and the Aurora Beacon-News are news partners covering stories in the western suburbs of Chicago.)