James K. Clemmons

A babysitter who assaulted a 9-year-old special needs girl in Brookfield in 2014 faces a long stretch in prison after pleading guilty to predatory criminal sexual assault at the Maybrook courthouse on May 13.

Judge Gregory Ginex sentenced James K. Clemmons, 71, of Justice, to 10 years in state prison for the offense, which is a Class X felony and could have landed Clemmons in prison for up to 30 years.

Clemmons is being held at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet.

He has been in custody since the afternoon of Sept. 9, 2014, when police arrested him at his home in Justice.

On Sept. 8, 2014, the victim’s mother arrived at her Brookfield apartment early from work and discovered Clemmons in bed, under the covers with her daughter. When the woman demanded to know what was going on, Clemmons told her the girl was trying to take a nap, that “nothing is going on” and asked the woman to close the bedroom door because he “needed a minute.”

But the girl’s mom ordered him out of the bed and pulled off the covers, revealing that Clemmons was completely naked from the waist down. Clemmons grabbed his clothes and fled the apartment.

According to the police report at the time of his arrest, Clemmons was a longtime friend of the girl’s family and had been babysitting the girl for four years, from the time she got home from school at about 3:30 p.m. until her mom came home from work at 6 p.m.