SYCAMORE – A 25-year-old Sycamore gymnastics coach was sentenced to more than three decades in jail by a DeKalb County judge this week in exchange for a guilty plea for sexual assault and abuse of his former students.
Joseph R. Hannon, of the 1700 block of DeKalb Avenue in Sycamore, plead guilty in front of DeKalb County Circuit Court Judge Phillip Montgomery to predatory criminal sexual assault (a Class X felony), and five counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse (a Class 2 felony). He was sentenced to 25 years for the Class X felony and seven years for the Class 2 felonies.
“This defendant violated the trust of so many people — children and parents,” said DeKalb County State’s Attorney Rick Amato in a statement Friday. “They counted on him to do the right things, yet when he thought no one was looking he did the unthinkable and violated that trust. He deserves every minute he serves in prison.”
Amato also heralded those who stepped forward to provide testimony.
“I am so impressed by our young, brave survivors who came forward and stood up for themselves and for one another to let the defendant know that what he did to them was not OK,” Amato said. “I hope these survivors and their families can start to heal and move forward, empowered with the knowledge that their voices have been heard.”
Amato also thanked Sycamore police and Assistant State’s Attorney Alicia Caplan for “holding this defendant accountable for his horrific crimes.”
As part of his sentence, he’ll be required to register for life with the Illinois Sexual Offender registry. HE will also be required to serve 85% of his 25-year term. He’ll also receive credit for the time he’s already spent in DeKalb County Jail.
Hannon was arrested Dec. 7, 2016 and accused of inappropriately touching six girls, all under the age of 13, while an employee of Energym, where he’d coached youth gymnastics for a year and a half in facilities in Sycamore and Genoa. Prior to his employment with Energym, he’d had a criminal record including a felony conviction for which he was on probation for a drug charge stemming from an October 2013 arrest that occurred as part of a police drug sweep in the area.
During Hannon’s plea hearing this week, Caplan said that between April 1 and Sept. 1, 2016, Hannon sexually assaulted six children multiple times, all under the age of 13. They were all students of his at Energym.
Energym is also where gymnastics teams from area public school districts hold practices and meets.
Witness testimony from 2017 from several mothers who spoke on behalf of their daughters who were victimized by Hannon painted a picture of Hannon’s behavior: among other things, a mother said her daughter told her he’d groped her during class. Another woman testified about a 9-year-old girl she knew, who said that Hannon grabbed her hips and pressed against her as she was getting a drink of water. Police have said that incident was caught on tape at Energym and eventually led to Hannon’s arrest.
Amato said Hannon’s case remained in pretrial until this week, when Hannon came forward to plead guilty.
Source: The Daily Chronicle