CAMBRIDGE -- Henry County Circuit Court Judge Charles "Casey" Stengel on Thursday sentenced Justin Bealer, 28, of Colona, to 14 consecutive sentences of natural life in prison for 14 counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.
Mr. Bealer also was sentenced to five years in prison on numerous other counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child. He was convicted in two separate trials of offenses against multiple victims.
The youngest victim was just 4 at the time of the assaults in 2010.
"It's clear for the court that you're a pedophile, and clear that society has to be protected from pedophiles," Judge Stengel said as he imposed the sentences.
Defense attorney Marc Wolfe attempted to cite case law indicating Mr. Bealer would be eligible for minimum six-year terms for Class X felonies. But Judge Stengel said it was clear the law meant for the crime to be subject to natural life in prison.
Henry County State's Attorney Terry Patton said Mr. Bealer assaulted three victims multiple times over a five-year period, abusing their trust and taking advantage of their youth and immaturity.
After the sentencing, Mr. Patton talked about the many hours law enforcement put into the case, saying that, as often as he was calling them with requests, he was surprised they hadn't begun blocking his calls.
Davenport police officer William Hurt, who reviewed Mr. Bealer's computer, and state police investigators Anthony Romeo and Corey Peck always dropped what they were doing and got the answers he needed, Mr. Patton said.
"My only regret is that he only has one natural life that he can serve, because he deserves it for what he did to all these girls," Mr. Patton said. He added the girls deserved the most credit.
"It was incredible that they were able to go through with that and did not give up," he said.
The mother of one of the victims said she was very happy with the prosecutorial team.
"I'm just very happy that it's over and no one else is going to get hurt, because he would have kept on doing it," she said.
Prior to Thursday's sentencing, the judge denied the defense's motion for new trials.
Today is Monday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2014. There are 121 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We are informed by J.H. Hull that the reason the street sprinkler was not at work yesterday settling the dust on the streets, was because one of his horses was injured. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Bonnie McGregor, a fleet-footed stallion owned by S.W. Wheelock of this community, covered himself with glory at Lexington, Ky, when he ran a mile in 2:13 1/2. The horse's value was estimated as at least $50,000. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Troops are pouring into Paris to prepare for defense of the city. The German army is reported to be only 60 miles from the capital of France. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The German army has invaded Poland in undeclared warfare. Poland has appealed to Great Britain and France for aid. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Publication of a plant newspaper, the Farmall Works News, has been launched at the Rock Island IHC factory and replaces a managerial newsletter. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Officials predict Monday's Rock Island Labor Parade will be the biggest and best ever. Last minute work continues on floats and costumes for the parade, which steps off a 9:30 a.m.