WOODSTOCK – A 78-year-old man who admitted to fondling two young girls was sentenced to four years in prison, but could be eligible for release in about a year.
Arthur J. McGhee, of Fox River Grove, previously pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. On Friday, McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather sentenced him to four years on each count. The sentences will be served concurrently.
McGhee will receive credit for time served in McHenry County Jail since his arrest June 26, 2013. He's also eligible for day-for-day credit.
McGhee was accused of fondling two female family members between 2003 and 2012. Reading a statement before the judge, one of the girls said the sexual abuse began when she was in elementary school.
"He has destroyed our family. No matter how much we heal, we will never be the same again," the girl said. "… Why should he ever be free when I am not?"
A second girl appeared too overcome with emotion to read her statement before the court.
Assistant State's Attorney Robert Zalud asked Prather to sentence McGhee to an extended prison term. The maximum prison sentence McGhee faced was seven years. His offenses also were probation eligible.
McGhee's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Rick Behof, noted his client's lack of criminal history, age and ailing health when asking Prather for leniency. A psychologist determined McGhee was a low risk for re-offending.
"I'm very sorry for ever hurting my family. I would never knowingly harm any of my [family members]," McGhee told the judge.
The judge rejected that notion, saying, "How could you possibly do the acts that you plead guilty to and not think those acts would hurt those girls?"
As part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to dismiss nine additional counts against McGhee. Under current sentencing laws, whether he was convicted of two or 12 counts, any prison term would be served concurrently.