ROSCOE, Ill. (WTVO) — A community is outraged after an Illinois man was sentenced to only 180 days — 70 of which have already been served — for sexually assaulting an underage girl.
Sean Whippler, 26, was charged with three counts of Predatory Criminal Sexual Abuse for assaulting a victim who was under the age of 13 when the abuse happened, and which spanned multiple years.
Facing potentially 90 years behind bars, Whippler plead guilty to the lesser charge of Criminal Sexual Abuse – a sentence which was agreed to by both the prosecuting and defense teams in the case, resulting in the 180 days-plus-4 years probation sentence.
“This resolution was the result of extensive discussions with the victim, the victim’s family, and the defense attorneys,” said Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross.
Whippler’s attorney, Elder Granger II, of Granger, Cohen & Donahue, said, “You have circumstances where someone is low risk, they have no prior record, they’re not likely to (become a repeat offender) in the future. So, then probation is a good sentence.”
Keeping the victim off the witness stand was one of the main reasons for the plea deal.
“If you can think about the trauma, not just physically, but psychologically, for a small child, and then expect that child to come into court and talk about adult things in front of a lot of adult people, it’s very challenging and has a long-lasting impact,” Hite Ross said.
Whippler’s 180 day sentence includes the roughly 70 days he’s already spent behind bars at the Winnebago County Jail.
In addition, he’ll serve an additional four years probation, which is restrictive for a sex offender.
“So, it’s not like your normal, regular probation,” Granger II explained. “Sex offender probation is a lot more detailed, in terms of what they’re required to do and refrain from doing.”
When Whippler is released, he will have 24 hours to register himself as a sex offender or face a felony charge.
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