Hess sentenced to 35 years in prison

CARLINVILLE (Jan. 18, 2018) – Macoupin County State’s Attorney Jennifer A. Watson announced Tuesday, Jan. 16, that Associate Judge Joshua A. Meyer has sentenced Thomas A. Hess, 33, of Virden to 35 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. On Nov. 14, a Macoupin County jury found Hess guilty of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.

The sentence stems from allegations that began when the child was 6-7 years old. At trial, evidence showed Hess had assaulted the child numerous times in his home.

In November 2016, the child disclosed the sexual assaults to a family member. Authorities were notified, along with the Department of Child and Family Services, and the Virden Police Department investigated the complaint. DCFS took protective custody of the child. After a thorough investigation, Hess was arrested on Dec. 20, 2016, with a $250,000 bond; he has been held at Macoupin County Jail since that time.

“This child has had to endure a horrific crime… while he hid it in the privacy of his own home,” said Watson. “The child showed considerable strength in disclosing the assault to her aunt and testifying at the jury trial. Now, [Hess] will have to sit for the next 35 years and will not be able to prey upon our most vulnerable citizens, children. I would like to thank the Virden Police Department, DCFS, the Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center, the SIU School of Medicine Centetr for Family Medicine and the Illinois State Police Digital Forensic Examiner.”

“This court struggles to think of a scenario in which deterrence is more necessary than the present case, said Judge Meyer during the sentence announcement.

Hess will be required to serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.

Editor’s note: As it is the policy of this newspaper to not identify the victim of sexual assaults, some details have been omitted from the comments made by Watson and Meyer.