A 40-year-old man was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison for his actions the day a parent’s “nightmare” came true last summer outside a Woodstock park.
Kevin A. Sorensen told the judge he woke up the morning of Aug. 11 with a “bad head,” hearing voices that told him a trip to Olson Park in Woodstock might lift his spirits.
He would later tell police that he hadn’t planned to kidnap the 4-year-old boy, whom bystanders tore from his arms.
In a letter to the judge, the victim’s mother said her 14-, 12- and 4-year-old children had planned on taking their bikes to Olson Park on Aug. 11. They would spend the morning playing with other neighborhood kids – the same group of children Sorensen spotted when he arrived.
“All of the sudden my body just snapped,” Sorensen said. “I ran up to the kid and I snatched him.”
Sorensen said he grabbed the 4-year-old boy off his bike and tried to pull down his pants, later admitting to police he might have sexually abused him if he had gotten away.
“I was going to take him home and keep him as a child,” Sorensen reportedly told authorities.
According to a police report that prosecutor John Gibbons read in court Friday, Sorensen told officers he would have made the boy “happy, and claimed he would have “bought him toys” and “played games with him.”
Sorensen didn’t make it far, however, because the shouts of other children alerted adults who separated Sorensen from the young boy, and held the man down until police arrived.
The adults – Sean Norton, Jonathon Hunt, Octavio Ramirez and Christina Ramirez – were later honored at a Woodstock City Council meeting for their actions that day.
Sorensen pleaded guilty but mentally ill in April to aggravated criminal sexual abuse and aggravated kidnapping in connection with the incident.
McHenry County Assistant Public Defender Angelo Mourelatos asked the judge to consider Sorensen’s “troubled childhood” and “severe” mental health issues when issuing the sentence.
Mourelatos said Sorensen has been in and out of the hospital since 2006 in relation to a paranoid schizophrenia diagnosis that was confirmed by a psychologist before Friday’s sentencing.
McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather ordered Sorensen to serve 18 years in prison followed by three years of parole, adding she had no doubt about the man’s mental illness. He is expected to receive treatment in prison, where he must serve 85 percent of the sentence.
Gibbons said he thought he’d “seen it all” in his time as a prosecutor, but couldn’t seem to shake the details of this case.
“This is the ‘I told you so’ moment of why we need a strong sex offender registry in this state,” Gibbons said.
In 1993, Sorensen was charged with luring an 8-year-old boy into the woods in the 700 block of St. Johns Road, Woodstock, and raping him. He was ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years, and later violated the terms of that registration, court records show.
Sorensen will now have to register as a sex offender for life. Upon completing his prison sentence, he will be evaluated to determine whether he is either sexually violent or dangerous, which could place him in a treatment facility.