Forest Preserve Police investigation leads to arrest

A Forest Preserve District of Will County Police investigation has resulted in an aggravated battery charge being filed against William P. Sitton, 23, of Naperville, for a May incident on the Old Plank Road Trail.

Sitton was arraigned on the charge Thursday, Nov. 30, in Will County Court, where he pleaded not guilty. A date for pretrial motions was set for Jan. 10.

The OPRT incident occurred at approximately 6:20 p.m. May 28 when a 21-year-old woman told police a man grabbed her arm and then her waist as she walked near the entrance to a path that connects the trail to the Hickory Creek Bikeway in New Lenox Township. She was able to flee the scene with her dog.

After receiving information from a local bar, Forest Preserve police publicized a photo of two men: a witness to the attack and the suspect who grabbed the victim. Tips from the public led to the witness being identified, and several grand jury appearances led to Sitton being arrested.

“Forest Preserve officers were able to obtain an arrest warrant for the suspect and on Oct. 31, he was apprehended in Champaign where he is attending college,” said Forest Preserve Police Chief Tracy Chapman.

Sitton was released on bond after his arrest.

Chapman praised her officers for their hard work and members of the public for their help.

“Our officers worked tirelessly to make an arrest in this case,” she said. “We want to thank the public for their cooperation, and let them know that their safety is our No. 1 goal.”

Forest Preserve Board President Suzanne Hart also expressed appreciation for the efforts involved in identifying the suspect.

“Our forest preserves and trails are among Will County’s most valuable assets and we take visitor safety very seriously,” Hart said. “I’m proud of the way our Forest Preserve police have pursued this case, and I look forward to its final legal resolution.”

The charge of aggravated battery in a public place pending against Sitton is a Class 3 felony punishable by up to two to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.