from the Circuit Court of Christian County. No. 13-CF-59
Honorable Bradley T. Paisley, Judge, presiding.
Attorneys Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender,
Ellen J. Curry, Deputy for Defender, Elizabeth M. Crotty,
Assistant Appellate Defender,
Attorneys Hon. Michael M. Havera, State's Attorney,
Christian County Courthous, Patrick Delfino, Director,
Appellee David J. Robinson, Deputy Director, Erin Wilson
Laegeler, Staff Attorney,
JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Moore and Overstreet concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 After a jury trial in the circuit court of Christian
County, defendant, Jerry H. Bunning, was convicted of
aggravated criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/11-1.60(c)(1)(i)
(West 2012)) and was sentenced to five years in the
Department of Corrections to be followed by two years of
mandatory supervised release. Defendant appeals the denial of
his motion to reconsider his sentence. The issue raised in
this direct appeal is whether the trial court erred by
considering in aggravation the psychological harm or threat
thereof suffered by the minor victim in sentencing defendant.
3 Defendant was charged by information with a single count of
aggravated criminal sexual abuse for having the victim, M.B.,
who was under 13 years of age, "touch his penis over his
clothing." Id. M.B. is defendant's
step-granddaughter. At trial, M.B., age nine, testified that
approximately two years earlier defendant showed her
pornography on a computer and made her touch him on "his
bad spot" over his clothes. She pointed to the bad spot
on a diagram. M.B. said it happened in the computer room at
her grandparents' house. M.B. estimated that it happened
approximately four times, usually at night while her
grandmother was asleep.
4 After hearing all the evidence, the jury found defendant
guilty. The trial court ordered a sex offender evaluation and
presentence investigation (PSI) prior to sentencing. The sex
offender evaluation showed that defendant is at a low risk
for recidivism. The evaluator recommended defendant undergo
"[s]ex offender-specific treatment utilizing
group-centered, cognitive-behavioral techniques as
recommended by the Illinois Sex Offender Management
Board" and "[s]ex offender-specific
guidelines/requirements and specialized monitoring if
[defendant] is at some point placed/released under community
supervision via probation or parole."
5 The presentence investigation showed defendant has one 1977
conviction for disorderly conduct. It also showed that
defendant was gainfully employed as a truck driver by the
same employer for 18 years. With regard to a proposed plan of
supervision, the report concluded:
"Due to the severity of the current offense and the
defendant's failure to take full responsibility for the
offense, it appears the defendant lacks empathy for others.
In addition, the defendant lacks involvement in an organized
group or activity. If the court were to sentence the
defendant to a term of probation, the targeted interventions
and supervision strategies listed above as well as maximum
level of supervision, would be priorities in a supervision
A revised level of service inventory suggested that defendant
receive a "medium level of supervision/service" and
placed defendant's probability of recidivism at 23%.
6 M.B.'s mother submitted a victim impact statement in
which she set forth the ways in which she, M.B., and her
family had been impacted by defendant's abuse of M.B. In
her letter, she discussed how, over the course of the
previous two years, her family members' lives have
"been turned upside down." She explained how the
family has "had to rearrange our lives to keep all of
the counseling appointments, court dates, and advocate
meetings." She said she and her husband missed more than
30 days of work because of such appointments, causing them to
lose money because neither has a job that gives them paid
time off for such matters. She also noted that the victim
"has had to miss many days of school and some fun
activities with her friends." She believes M.B. "is
not the same girl she used to be" and defendant
"took her childhood away."
7 A sentencing hearing was conducted on July 31, 2014. The
State did not offer any additional evidence in aggravation.
The defense called defendant's wife and defendant to
testify. Both testified about the ...