A 71-year-old Homewood man pleaded not guilty Wednesday, Nov. 7 to 18 felony counts of criminal sexual assault and abuse stemming from allegations that he abused a juvenile over two years.
Dressed in the customary khaki-colored Cook County Department of Corrections garb, Copeland entered his plea alongside his attorney Wayne Johnson in Judge Michele Simmons' Markham courtroom.
Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Bagby will be prosecuting the case and counsel exchanged evidence as they begin the pre-trial discovery phase. Bagby gave Johnson 45 pages of documents, including a police report and the grand jury transcript, the prosecutor told the judge in open court.
Authorities say Copeland sexually assaulted a juvenile over the course of two years, with the most recent incident occurring on Aug. 12. Prosecutors said at a previous hearing that Copeland had made admissions to police regarding some of the incidents.
Copeland, who has reportedly been married for 14 years, is also retired from a 47-year career at William Wrigley Co. and served in the U.S. Air Force for two years.
Copeland's wife was at Wednesday's hearing and attempted to speak with him as he was being led out of the courtroom but was quickly shushed by courtroom deputies.
Copeland's next hearing has been set for Dec. 17.