Volunteer coach who had sex with student gets 12 1/2 years in prison

August 7

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Tuesday that a Joliet Township High School District volunteer track coach will spend 12-1/2 years in prison for having sex with a 15-year-old cheerleader.

A jury deliberated for three hours in April 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 aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Grocesley could have been sentenced from 12 to 45 years in prison. Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak sentenced Grocesely Tuesday morning. Grocesley must serve 85 percent of his sentence under state sentencing guidelines. He also must register for life as a sex offender.

Grocesley also faces additional criminal sexual assault and aggravated 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.

“Marcus Grocesley used his position of trust and supervision as a volunteer coach to gain access to vulnerable young girls,” Glasgow said. “It is critical that we safeguard our children, who lack the maturity, education and life experiences to protect themselves, from all forms of sexual abuse.  The punishment for preying upon a child must be severe, and that is why he is heading to prison.” 

In the case in which he was convicted, 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.

Grocesley’s sexual relationship with the girl ran from December 2005 through February 2006. Testimony during his 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 testified during Grocesley’s trial.

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 Grocesley “held a position of trust, authority or supervision in relation to the victim.” The aggravated 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 that Grocesley abused his position as a coach to gain access to girls for sexual encounters.

“These two skilled trial attorneys won a crucial conviction that has put a sexual predator behind bars,” the state’s attorney said.

He also credited Joliet police detectives for conducting an aggressive and thorough investigation that enabled the state’s attorney’s office to file charges in this case. 

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.