WOODSTOCK – A McHenry County jury acquitted an Algonquin man on all sexual assault charges against him.
Derrick I. Hill, 40, was arrested in April 2011 and charged with multiple sex offenses including predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a family member and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
He faced up to 30 years in prison on the most serious charge.
A 12-person jury found Hill not guilty Wednesday after a two-day trial before McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt.
“Cases like this are always very difficult in nature,” Hill’s defense attorney, Margi Worth, said outside the courtroom. “I’m very happy on behalf of my client that he’s acquitted of all charges.”
The alleged victim, who was 11 years old at the time of Hill’s arrest, left the courtroom with tears in her eyes after the verdict was read.
Earlier in the trial, she testified that Hill touched and rubbed her breasts, buttocks and genitals. The abuse, she said, happened three to four times a week and had been going on for as long as she could remember.
“Terrible things were happening to [the victim]… terrible things were happening in the nighttime. [Hill] came into her room and sexually abused her,” Assistant State’s Attorney Donna Kelly said. Kelly also is chief of the Civil Division in the State’s Attorney’s Office.
“[The victim] faced the defendant in open court and told you what this man had been doing to her throughout the course of her childhood,” Kelly said.
Earlier Wednesday, Hill took the stand and maintained his innocence.
“I didn’t [do it],” he told jurors. “In fact, it disgusts me.”
Hill also cried after the verdict and yelled “thank you” to jurors as they filed out.
In closing arguments, Worth argued the level of fondling prosecutors alleged did not meet the criteria for sexual assault. She also noted the child could not provide details about the alleged abuse.
But Assistant State’s Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein said the details the girl provided in court and in a recorded interview with police should be enough for jurors to find Hill guilty.
“That 11-year-old gave details that an 11-year-old would not know but for that happening to her,” Eisenstein said.