Crime & Courts

Child molester gets 25 years

WOODSTOCK – A former Algonquin man who tried to commit suicide in the courtroom after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a young girl was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in prison.

Robert W. Lucht, 56, apologized to McHenry County Judge Joseph Condon for his suicide attempt last month, saying it was selfish.

“That was not fair to anyone,” Lucht said. “I’m sorry.”

Moments after the jury’s verdict was read, Lucht tipped back an envelope made from notebook paper and tried to swallow what appeared to be rat poison. A bailiff tackled him to get him to spit out the granules.

Lucht was taken to a hospital by ambulance and released back to the McHenry County Jail several days later.

Lucht faced between 21 and 120 years in prison after his conviction on three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

His attorney, Michael Norris, said that the minimum was effectively a death sentence for his client, who suffers from health problems including emphysema and likely will die in prison.

Assistant State’s Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein asked for a “lengthy” prison sentence, emphasizing that the victim was between 7 and 9 years old when she was subjected to pornography and sex acts.

“She is a strong person, but what this defendant did to her is disgusting,” Eisenstein said. Rather than apologizing to the court, he should have been apologizing to his victim, she said.

The victim, now 15, read a victim impact statement, saying she no longer is ashamed, but she feels anger.

“Because of him, I felt isolated,” she said. “I allowed myself to believe what he did to me was OK.”

When she was 11, the girl was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and cutting herself. She also described being bullied and afraid of being jumped by other children.

“Little did they know I was being abused at home,” she said. “At least now I don’t fear sleeping at night.”

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