September 1, 2006
JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a traveling telephone book distributor has been convicted of sexually molesting a young boy at the Empress Casino Hotel in Joliet.
A jury deliberated for less than an hour late Thursday before finding Donald Collins, 53, guilty on two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and one count of criminal sexual assault.
Collins, who had been befriended by the victim’s family, sexually abused the boy on two separate occasions at the hotel in 2002 and 2003. However, testimony at this week’s four-day trial revealed that Collins had abused the youth on hundreds of occasions over the years in jurisdictions in Illinois and other states.
The family allowed the youth to travel with Collins to other states while he distributed telephone books, according to trial testimony. The defendant also attempted to control the boy’s life by checking up on him at school functions and forcing the youth to call him when he came home for the evening.
“Donald Collins infiltrated this family so that he could prey repeatedly on a vulnerable and confused young boy,” Glasgow said. “And once the abuse began, this perverted fiend tried to control every facet of this child’s existence through mental, physical and sexual manipulation.”
Glasgow praised the youth, who lived in Grundy County at the time of the abuse, for mustering the courage to tell his family and police about the sexual abuse and for testifying truthfully at this week’s trial.
“The bravery of this young victim must not be understated, because his testimony was the lynchpin of this most critical prosecution,” Glasgow said. “The depravity of Collins’ predatory sexual assaults upon this child is incomprehensible. Without this conviction to stop him from pursuing his twisted desires, Collins would have been a continuing threat, not only to this victim, but to other innocent children as well.”
The multi-jurisdictional investigation into the abuse allegations was headed by District 5 State Police Detective Jeff Liskh.
The trial was prosecuted by Lea Norbut-Sicinski, who heads Glasgow’s criminal division, and Assistant State’s Attorney Alyson DeBell. Will County is the only jurisdiction to secure a conviction against Collins stemming from the investigation.
“Detective Liskh and my assistant state’s attorneys handled the investigation and prosecution of this case with tremendous skill and sensitivity,” Glasgow said. “Their hard work has taken a dangerous predator off our streets. Utilizing the countless incidents of sexual molestation Collins inflicted upon this victim and his prior conviction for sexually abusing a child from Florida, we will seek a sentence that will guarantee that he never has the opportunity to prey upon another child.”
Collins, who has prior convictions that include fondling a child in the early 1980s in Florida, is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 3. The defendant faces mandatory consecutive sentences on two of the three felony counts. Prosecutors currently are reviewing the defendant’s criminal record to determine the maximum penalty.
He also will be required to register as a sex offender for life. Sex offender registries were not in effect when he was convicted in Florida.
Charles B. Pelkie
(815) 530-7110 (cellular)
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