Jasper sentenced in two sexual abuse cases
In a bench trial that began Sept. 30 and lasted 2 days Loren Jasper, 44, was found guilty in one case of criminal sexual assault, victim between the ages of 13 and 17. Class X felony and in another case he was found guilty to Class 2 aggravated criminal sexual abuse, victim older than 5.
Feb. 21, Mr. Jasper appeared with defense attorney Andrew Larson at a Sentencing Hearing in Mercer County Circuit Court on the two cases.
Post trial motions were heard by Judge Gregory Chickris in both cases. Defense attorney Larson argued that the defendant was in no position of legal authority over the victim. The motions were denied. In regard to whether or not Mr. Jasper could be considered to be "in a position of trust" the Judge ruled that the State had already proved that he was indeed a trusted authority figure beyond reasonable doubt.
Defense attorney Larson, in another post trial motion, asked for a new trial. He argued that before the court can use a jailhouse informant the court is required to hold a hearing to determine reliability. Assistant State's Attorney Meeghan Lee pointed out that the evidence had been allowed by another judge on the case, as well as the current presiding judge. She argued, "(the informant) is not labeled as a jailhouse informant. He testified in pre-trial disclosures....there were no deals or leniency...he came to us of his own volition."
Judge Chickris also denied this motion saying, "This is the first time the defendant has raised the statute." He explained that the testimony does satisfy requirements in the statute, and it is in fact, reliable.
During sentencing ASA Lee called Chief Deputy of the Mercer County Sheriff's Department, Jeff Dale, who had interviewed the victim. His testimony illuminated the nature of the crimes. Dale said the minor described three sexual contacts with Mr. Jasper. The victim was hired by the wife as a babysitter for her young children. Two sexual contacts occurred in a hotel while the family was displaced due to flooding in the home. Another time intercourse took place in the backseat in a car in Coyne Center.
ASA Lee asked Chief Deputy Dale if the victim indicated how the defendant had approached her for sex. Dale explained the victim stated Mr. Jasper was going to touch or start touching a juvenile in her care if she did not acquiesce to his request. She was 13 at the time of first activity. She was protecting a child in her care.
Next, Lee called Detective with Mercer County Sheriff's Office Dusty Terrill to the stand. He sat in the interview with Mr. Jasper.
Terrill explained that Mr. Jasper had, "initially admitted to sexual contact and had given a written statement...he waived his Miranda Rights." He described he had to sign a form to do so. Terrill said that In the second offense, Mr. Jasper told his cell mate at the time that he had sex with another under age female. He told his mate the age and location of sex act. Terrill then made phone contact with the victim, and she agreed to meet.
ASA Lee asked, "prior to (the cell mate), did you have any knowledge of this victim?"
Terrill said it was by admission of the cell mate alone. While meeting with the victim she told Terrill that while babysitting in Rural Sherrard, Mr. Jasper initiated sexual contact which lead to intercourse. She was worried if she did not, something would happen to the young girl she was babysitting. The victim was 16.
During closing arguments Asst. State's Attorney Lee went over factors in aggravation of sexual abuse. Mr. Jasper caused or threatened serious harm, "an adult man... fear of what would happen to younger children." She explained that he does have a history of sexual deviance, he was previously convicted in Scott County of a sex act against a minor.
Lee explained that he did hold a position of trust or supervision. This case is a Class X Felony and the state asked for 30 years DOC.
"This is about keeping the community safe, otherwise children in any community he lives would be at danger," argued Lee.
Defense Attorney Larson argued that Mr. Jasper's sentence should start around 18 years. He described that his client has had a tumultuous upbringing and was in home after home from grandparents to foster care. He said Jasper first committed and was convicted of sexual abuse at age 18, in 1987. "He's had a troubled life, this man's had emotional problems, developmental problems his entire life." He continued, "I'm not here to excuse his behavior... but this is not as though you had a well-to-do individual." He described that these were two acts over a long period of time, he didn't go to jail, get out, and then do it again.
For the prosecution Lee argued that in 1987 he was sentenced to a period of up to 25 years, he was discharged in 2001 after serving 14 years. At the time he was required to be in a sex offender program, but once he was no longer obligated he discontinued taking part. She said, "A lot of kids have a bad upbringing and do not get involved in this behavior...he's a danger to children."
Judge Chickris ruled, "it is necessary to deter and protect the public." Mr. Jasper was sentenced to 28 years DOC consecutive to any sentence in the other case brought for sentencing the same day. He is subject to a mandatory supervised release term of three years to life. He is ordered to pay prosecution. Due to the nature of the crime he is required to serve 85% of the sentence and will be in DOC for 23.8 years in this case.
The prosecution asked for 7 years in the next conviction. Arguments were the same as the previous case. ASA Lee said he has previously been found guilty on counts 1 and 2, both class 2 felonies. Per the victims statements she said she has trouble trusting men in relationships, she described the sex abuse as traumatizing.
Attorney Larson said Mr. Jasper should not be penalized for stopping treatment when he did not have an obligation to continue. He explained that his client was not even close to the worst possible offender saying prosecution only cited two of the twenty requirements of aggravation to be considered in this case.
Judge Chickris said, "the fact that he obviously did not exert full effort to receive treatment to try and get himself under control....had he realized he had a problem he would have continued on." He sentenced Mr. Jasper to 6 years DOC, 4 years mandatory supervised release term, and to pay costs. This case is considered 'day for day' meaning for every day he serves a day is taken off his sentence. He will only serve 3 years in this conviction making his total actual DOC time 26.8 years total.
After sentencing Loren Jasper was transported to Rock Island county where he is awaiting trial on two other predatory criminal sexual assaults.