Thursday, September 17, 2009

Michael Rebecca - Serial Pedophile Child Molester - Guilty

A convicted sex offender faces up to 60 years in prison.

In what was called the largest child sex-offender case in Lake County history, a jury found Michael Rebecca guilty late Thursday afternoon on 20 counts of criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse charges.
Rebecca, 52, of Vernon Hills was previously charged with 251 counts of sexual assault for allegedly molesting nine young boys at his apartment over a six-year period.

Rebecca, of the 700 block of Birch Court, was arrested in November 2007 after one of the young victims told police that Rebecca molested a number of kids in a so-called "boys club" at his home.
Authorities said Rebecca allegedly played sex games with the boys, who ranged in age from 11 to 17, and attempted to prevent them from disclosing their activities to others by purchasing them cell phones, offering money and electronics.

One of the victims was used to lure and recruit other boys into Rebecca's club, police said.
Authorities suspect more than 200 sexual incidents occurred at Rebecca' home.
A jury in Lake County circuit court deliberated about 2 1/2 hours before finding Michael Rebecca of Vernon Hills guilty on 10 counts of criminal sexual assault and 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse - every charge brought against him.

Rebecca faces up to 60 years in prison. Sentencing is set for Oct. 15.

Jurors apparently agreed with Assistant State's Attorney Bolling Haxall, who said Rebecca, who had baby-sat the boy as a child, "groomed" him into sexual activities that began when he was about 14 and continued for three years.

Testimony in the two-day trial showed Rebecca, a computer programmer, knew the boy's parents from the time the boy was born. He was regarded as a good and trusted friend who shared activities and exchanged Christmas gifts.

"Trust. That is what this case is about," Haxall said in his closing argument. "He (Rebecca) knew he violated that trust."

Rebecca, 52, had the victim "wrapped around his little finger ... with no fear of this coming out," Haxall told the jury.

In a videotaped statement shown to jurors, Rebecca admitted to many sexual encounters with the boy.
"They trusted me. I let them down. I understand that," the tape showed Rebecca telling investigators in November 2007.
Defense attorney James Schwarzbach did not dispute that the acts occurred, but contended Rebecca was not in a position of trust or authority, one of the conditions needed to prove the case. He maintained Rebecca had been "overcharged."

Haxall disputed that, adding that by providing food and medicine, making him do his homework and other examples, Rebecca was acting as a parent when the boy stayed overnight at his apartment.

"When the defendant was supposed to be protecting (the victim), he was molesting him," Haxall told the jury.
The verdict ended the first of what could be several proceedings against Rebecca, who was charged with 251 counts of sexual activities with nine boys over a four-year period.
The trial that ended Thursday was separated from the others and dealt only with a single victim, now 19. Haxall said prosecutors must determine the next steps with the remaining charges. A status hearing on that aspect is scheduled for Sept. 30.

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