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Former Algonquin man gets 25 years for sex assault

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 today to 25 years in prison.

Robert W. Lucht, 56, apologized to 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 had tipped back an envelope made from notebook paper and tried to swallow what appeared to be rat poison.

A bailiff ended up tackling Lucht in an effort to get him to spit the granules out. Lucht was transported to the hospital by ambulance and released back into the custody of the McHenry County Jail several days later.

Lucht faced between 21 and 120 years in prison following 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 ages 7 and 9 at the time she was subjected to pornography and sex acts.

"She is a strong person, but what this defendant did to her his disgusting," Eisenstein said.

Rather than apologizing to the court, he should have been apologizing to his victim, Eisenstein said.

The victim, now 15, read a victim impact statement, saying that 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, afraid of being jumped by other kids.

"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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