Volunteer coach convicted of having sex with students

April 19

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Thursday that a Joliet Township High School District volunteer track coach was convicted of criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse for having sex with a 15-year-old cheerleader.

A jury deliberated for three hours before finding Marcus Grocesley (gro SES lee), 22, of the 700 block of Water Street, Joliet, guilty on three counts of criminal sexual assault and three counts of criminal sexual abuse. Grocesley faces up to 45 years in prison when he is sentenced before Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak on June 21. Probation is not a sentencing option.

Grocesley also faces additional criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse charges stemming from allegations he had sex with seven other Joliet Township High School District students. The seven criminal cases, which were the result of an intensive investigation by the Joliet Police Department, are pending in Will County Circuit Court.

In the case that went to trial this week, Grocesley met the girl while she was a cheerleader at a high school football game in October 2005. They met again while she was a cheerleader at a high school basketball game in December 2005.

Their first sexual encounter occurred in the evening after that December basketball game. The girl, who is now 16, disabled the alarm on her house to allow Grocesley, who was 21 at the time, into her bedroom.

The charges allege Grocesley had a sexual relationship with the girl that ran from December 2005 through February 2006. Testimony during the three-day trial revealed that Grocesley also had sex with the girl in his car and at his friend’s house. On one occasion, one of the girl’s friends joined the two for a sexual encounter. That friend also testified during Grocesley’s trial.

“Marcus Grocesley preyed on a vulnerable young girl,” Glasgow said. “He knew she was just a child, but he had sex with her anyway. Make no mistake, Grocesley is a dangerous predator, and she was his victim.”

The girl testified that she had told Grocesley she was 15. In addition, there were pictures of her in her cheerleading uniform in the bedroom where they had sex. And she prominently displayed in her room a jacket patch of the number 08 – the year she will graduate.

The criminal sexual assault charges allege the victim was underage and that he “held a position of trust, authority or supervision in relation to the victim.” The criminal sexual abuse charges allege the girl was between the ages of 13 and 17 and that Grocesley was at least five years older than the victim.

Glasgow credited Assistant State’s Attorneys Michael Fitzgerald and Mary Fillipitch for proving to jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that Grocesley abused his position with the high school district by having sex with the girl.

“These two prosecutors utilized top-notch trial skills to win a critical conviction that will put this pathetic sexual deviant behind bars for a long, long time,” Glasgow said.

The two prosecutors argued successfully that because he was a volunteer coach with the district’s athletic department, he had a responsibility not to have sex with a girl he knew to be a student at the high school. 

With regard to the pending cases, the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office reminds the public that charges are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.