HARVARD – A judge sentenced a Harvard man to 12 years in prison Tuesday for entering the home of an 18-year-old woman and sexually assaulting her as she slept.
After hearing testimony during Tuesday’s sentencing, a tearful Shauntaine Curry addressed the woman he is convicted of sexually assaulting the morning of July 25, 2016, in her Harvard home.
“To [the victim] and everyone who has been affected by this, I sincerely apologize,” Curry said.
After an Oct. 20 bench trial, Curry was found guilty of criminal sexual assault. He faced as many as 30 years in prison for the offense. McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein asked that Curry, who already was a convicted sex offender, be sentenced to 20 years in prison.
He’s required to serve 85 percent of the 12-year sentence, under Truth in Sentencing guidelines, and must serve a parole term of three years to natural life. The length of his parole will be left up to the Illinois Department of Corrections.
On July 25, 2016, an 18-year-old woman woke up to a then-26-year-old Curry assaulting her in her bedroom, according to an order of protection filed against him at the time. When she ran into another room, Curry asked if she wanted him to leave, and she told him to go, the order stated.
Although attorneys said Curry was known to the victim’s family, his relationship to the victim is unclear.
The woman has struggled to come to terms with the assault and often relives the early morning incident in her dreams, she wrote in a statement that Eisenstein read aloud in court.
“I barely can sleep at night,” she wrote. “Sometimes it puts me at my lowest, like why would this happen to me?”
Curry’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Kim Messer, asked McHenry County Judge James Cowlin to sentence Curry to three and no more than seven years in prison for the conviction, noting that Curry was removed from an abusive home when he was 9 years old.
“Mr. Curry has never lived any sort of life with any role model whatsoever,” Messer said in court Tuesday.
Although Cowlin took Curry’s upbringing into consideration, he couldn’t ignore the man’s previous attempted kidnapping conviction, he said.
Chicago Police Detective Kevin Cole testified that in 2008, when Curry was 18, he put a 12-year-old girl in a headlock and dragged her into an alley. Curry first saw the girl while she was waiting for a train on Chicago’s Pink Line. He followed her off the train while she walked to school and, when she rejected his attempts to get her attention, he put her in a headlock and dragged her to a nearby alley, Cole testified. An onlooking couple yelled at Curry to stop, and the girl got away, but he later told police he would have raped the girl, Cole said.
Curry has denied allegations that he planned to sexually assault the girl, but he was required to register as a sex offender after the crime. He received a six-year prison sentence for the offense, but violated probation and returned to jail only one day after his release, Eisenstein said in court.
About six months had elapsed between the time Curry again was released and the day of the Harvard assault.
“All crimes are serious, but criminal sexual assault is a crime that’s hard to explain,” Cowlin said in court Tuesday. “... The sentence is necessary to deter others from committing the same crime.”
Cowlin denied Curry’s request for a new trial, in which Curry claimed prosecutors unfairly admitted Facebook records during trial and violated his right to a speedy trial.
The judge went on to tell Curry that his decision to enter the victim’s home that day was “ill-advised” at best, and to then go into the woman’s bedroom was “outrageous.”
“Quite frankly, what you did in there was abhorrent,” Cowlin said.
Messer said she plans to appeal Curry’s sentence.