RACINE — A Racine man accused of molesting a 13-year-old girl in the same bed where her younger sister was sleeping was back behind bars Tuesday, accused of violating his bond by going golfing.
John D. Pettus Jr., 30, had been scheduled to go on trial Tuesday. But two Racine County sheriff’s deputies handcuffed him and took him to jail, instead, after a judge increased his bond because of alleged violations during the past several months while Pettus was free on bond.
“He’s been going golfing,” Racine County Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Sommers said during the hearing. “He’s been pretty much doing what he wanted. His performance on bond is essentially flipping off the court.”
Pettus had been free on $1,000 cash bond. But Sommers asked for Pettus’ bond to be increased to $25,000 cash, saying he has shown “total disregard” for the judge’s order allowing him to go free on bond, with certain restrictions.
As conditions of his bond, Pettus was placed on GPS monitoring and allowed out of his home to work, search for employment, meet with his attorney, attend court hearings and attend medical appointments with his pregnant fiancée, court records show.
Circuit Court Judge Tim Boyle said as of Monday, multiple GPS violations had been recorded.
“(It) looks like he’s going golfing — a direct snubbing of the court’s orders,” Boyle said before increasing his bond at $10,000 cash.
Pettus appeared in court on Tuesday without a lawyer and did not speak during the hearing.
His defense attorney, Burlington lawyer Suzanne Smith, was suspended for six months starting on Jan. 16 after she was found to have committed 20 ethics violations.
Sommers said she hasn’t received notification of Pettus’ new attorney’s name.
“This has caused quite a bit of trauma to the child victim (because) of the delays,” Sommers said in court.
Pettus was charged last spring with second-degree sexual assault of a child after the teen reportedly told her mother on March 10, 2013, that he had molested her that morning, according to his criminal complaint. The girl and her younger sister, who know Pettus, were visiting at a home when Pettus molested her in the same bed where her younger sister was sleeping, the complaint stated.
Boyle on Tuesday ordered that Smith be removed as defense lawyer and directed Pettus to apply for an assistant state public defender.
“I’m not going to just let this case linger,” he said.
Pettus is due back in court June 2.