According to a Winnebago County jury decision, a man known for carrying an American flag in Rockford parades is guilty of a 2017 sexual assault.
Jim L. Buckingham, 56, faces a total of 24 years in prison after he got convicted of criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse by the jury on Thursday in front of Judge Brendan Maher.
The offenses were committed last June in the 100 Block of South First Street, where Buckingham lived, according to authorities. That is where a woman reported to the police that Buckingham made sexual comments to her before he raped her. A witness was in the apartment when the assault happened, prosecutors said.
Criminal sexual assault is a Class 1 felony, punishable by a mandatory sentence of four to fifteen years in the Illinois Department of Corrections and two years on parole.
Criminal sexual abuse is a Class 4 felony that comes with a sentence of one to three years in prison and a year on parole.
Buckingham is qualified for an extended prison term of one to six years in prison when he is sentenced August 22. He has a 2004 conviction for retail theft and one for battery in 2011, court records reveal. He will be mandated to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.
Buckingham, who served in the Army, had been a regular at City Council meetings and often marched in Rockford parades dressed in military camouflage and holding an American flag. He was banned from City Hall for a year in 2010 when he referred to former Mayor Larry Morrissey as a “domestic enemy” during a public speech.