WOODSTOCK – Thomas G. Reed sat stoically in a McHenry County courtroom, but tears began falling immediately from the victim as the judge read a jury’s guilty verdict on all three sex charges against the man who fondled and raped her.
It took jurors a little more than two hours Wednesday to return a guilty verdict on criminal sexual abuse and predatory criminal sexual assault charges against Reed.
Outside the courtroom, the victim, whom the Northwest Herald will not name to protect her identity, had little to say except that she “was happy it’s over.” She hugged her family and other supporters in long embraces before being led away by prosecutors.
It took the woman more than 10 years to tell police the full truth about what happened to her from 1999 and 2002, when she was between 9 and 12 years old, at the hands of her mother’s on-again, off-again boyfriend.
Reed could be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in prison, but because the crimes occurred under decade-old sentencing laws, the defense could ask for less time. A sentencing hearing is set for Aug. 22.
The victim, now 23 years old, came forward in 2002 and 2006 with similar allegations against Reed, but didn’t tell police the full extent of the abuse, she said, because she was scared and the family was financially dependent on him. Further testimony revealed her mother may have convinced her to back away from incriminating statements against Reed. No criminal charges ever were pursued.
“Allegations like this are very difficult to make,” Assistant State’s Attorney Kate Lenhard said after the verdict was read. “There’s a lot of shame, fear, embarrassment. It’s not abnormal that it would take so long for it to come out.”
In closing arguments earlier in the day, Reed’s defense attorney pointed out that the victim lied to police in the past.
“The state wants you to believe that she lied and you can’t use it against her. You absolutely can,” defense attorney Brian Erwin said. “She lied in 2002, she lied in 2006, why should we believe her now?”
But prosecutors said the woman had no motive for untruthfulness now.
“Why is she lying?” Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally asked jurors. “Did you hear a shred of evidence that she would benefit in any way if he’s convicted? … Why is she doing that? Why is she sacrificing her time and her mental well-being if not for justice, if not for the truth?”
Reed was immediately remanded to custody of the McHenry County Jail. He had been free after posting bond shortly after his August 2012 arrest.
The trial before McHenry County Judge Gordon Graham began with testimony on Tuesday.