A Waukegan man faces up to 127 years in prison after a jury convicted him Friday of sexually assaulting a young girl, who got pregnant when she was around 12 years old.
Jorge Hernandez-Chirinos, 45, of Waukegan, was charged in July with three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a victim under the age of 13 and one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim under the age of 13.
A grand jury later indicted him on a total of two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a victim under the age of 13 and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim under the age of 13.
Prosecutors said at the time of Hernandez-Chirinos’ arrest that he sexually assaulted a child starting when she was eight years old.
The assaults went on until she was 12 years old, at which time she reported it.
The Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center and Waukegan Police Department investigated the report.
A second suspect, Olegario Zelaya-Lopez, 21, of Waukegan, was also charged with numerous counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child.
Zelaya-Lopez was arrested around a month later after authorities learned he also assaulted the same victim on multiple occasions, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said in July that the 12-year-old victim was approximately six months pregnant at that point.
Zelaya-Lopez has been held in the Lake County Jail on a $3 million bond and Hernandez-Chirinos has been held on a $1 million bond.
Hernandez-Chirinos went on trial on Tuesday. The trial lasted four days.
The victim’s relatives and friends testified to the jury and corroborated the girl’s report of the assaults, the state’s attorney’s office said.
Hernandez-Chirinos did not testify and his attorney did not call any witnesses.
The jury late Friday afternoon returned guilty verdicts for all counts.
“Our outstanding investigators, victim advocates, and prosecutors strive daily to protect children. We appreciate the jury’s work last week on a heart-wrenching case,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
“Without our strong partnership with law enforcement and the bravery of this survivor, this offender may have harmed others. We will continue to ensure that the survivor receives the support she needs,” Rinehart said.
Lake County Judge George Strickland revoked Hernandez-Chirinos’ ability to post bond following the verdict.
Each predatory criminal sexual assault of a child charge carries a sentencing range of six to 60 years.
The charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse carries a sentencing range of three to seven years.
Hernandez-Chirinos is facing a combined 15-127 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
A pre-sentence investigation was ordered by the court and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 6.
The case against Zelaya-Lopez remains ongoing and a case management hearing is scheduled for March 13.