A 39-year-old Cottage Hills man has been sentenced to prison for the sexual assault and solicitation of two girls.
Joshua Brown pleaded guilty in December to indecent solicitation of a child and aggravated criminal sexual assault.
Brown will serve 15 years on the indecent solicitation of a child charge and a concurrent sentence of seven years on the aggravated criminal sexual assault charge. He will have a mandated two-year probation period following his release from prison.
The defendant was initially charged March 4 with the intent to commit an act of sexual penetration to a 9-year-old victim. Further investigation by the Bethalto Police Department led to the opening of a new case where the defendant was charged May 21 with the aggravated sexual assault of a 16-year-old victim.
Throughout the course of the investigation, it was determined that the defendant was in a position of trust and authority to the victims. Brown performed the lewd acts at his home beginning in January 2018. Due to the age of the victims and the Madison County state’s attorney’s desire to maintain their privacy, additional information regarding the victims was not released.
The plea agreement was reached after consultation with the victims and their families. In cases of sexual assault, it is required that children testify at trial which can often be difficult for young victims, the State’s Attorney’s Office noted. The plea sends the defendant to prison for a substantial period of time, State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons said. Additionally, it requires Brown to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Gibbons thanked the prosecutor, Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Nolan; the office’s Children’s Justice Division; the Bethalto Police Department, and the Madison County Child Advocacy Center for providing assistance to ensure the proper investigation and safety of the young victims. Gibbons also recognized Fitz, the courthouse facility dog, for providing comfort and emotional support to the young victims during the plea hearing.
The plea hearing included victim impact statements shared by one victim and the mother of a victim. The statement shared by the young victim was exalted by Circuit Judge Richard Tognarelli and Assistant State’s Attorney Nolan for her bravery and eloquence which they said shed light to the compassionate personality of the victim.
The victim stated, “Many may not agree with me but I believe everyone in this world deserves happiness even the people that have taken it away from others. I hope all the evil thoughts that have clouded your mind can leave and I hope you can eventually leave prison with the intent to do nothing but good things for as long as you shall live.”
Judge Tognarelli accepted Brown’s guilty plea.