CAMBRIDGE, Ill. — A Cambridge man was found guilty of three sex assault-related felonies Wednesday in Henry County Circuit Court.
Christopher Jeffers, 43, was found guilty of one count Class X felony predatory criminal sexual assault and two counts Class 2 felony aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The victim was under 13 in all three cases.
The bench trial before Judge James Cosby began June 15, when the victim, now 14, testified about one incident when she lived in Annawan when she was 9 and repeated incidents in Cambridge after that.
The victim's mother testified she witnessed a portion of the Annawan incident, which caused her to tell her own mother, the victim's grandmother, about it last summer, prompting both of them to call police.
Forensic interviewer Johanna Hager of Braveheart Children's Advocacy Center in Cambridge interviewed the victim and said law enforcement in Bureau County had contacted them in the case.
“(Some kids) will go to their grave never telling anyone,” she said, adding that she tries to respect children's resilience without retraumatizing them.
Children deal with sexual abuse in different ways, according to Hager. Some become “super kids” who “do everything they can to help their self-esteem.”
Others act out, getting into trouble. Still others become “so good at denying it they've compartmentalized it.”
Detectives Jim Kessinger and Josh Verscheure of the Henry County sheriff's department testified about an interview they conducted with Jeffers on Oct. 16, 2020.
Jeffers took the stand in his own defense and denied any inappropriate physical contact.
Also taking the stand for the defense was Jeffers' older son Domanick, who said he'd lived with his father for six months in Cambridge and had never seen any inappropriate contact.
The judge also found Jeffers not guilty of one count Class X felony predatory criminal sexual assault.
Sentencing was set for Sept. 17.