“A McHenry County jury Friday convicted the nephew of John Wayne Gacy, the infamous Chicago serial killer, of numerous charges of sexual abuse and sexual assault of a girl he knew.
Raymond M. Kasper, 49, formerly of Algonquin and most recently of Marengo, was found guilty of assaulting the girl at her Algonquin home between June 2011 and October 2011. He was convicted on three felony charges of predatory criminal sexual assault and three charges of sexual abuse.
The jury cleared Kasper of one of the sexual assault charges, but he still faces between 21 to 120 years in prison at his Sept. 28 sentencing, said Michael Combs, chief of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division.
“We think the jury got it right and we agree with their verdict,” Combs said. “We’re happy we can get justice for the victim.”
Jurors in the weeklong trial before Judge Joseph Condon were not told that Kasper is the nephew of Gacy, who was executed for killing 33 boys and young men.
Combs said the fact that Kasper is Gacy’s nephew is “completely irrelevant” and the state will not present that as an aggravating factor at sentencing. “We’re certainly not going to argue that be used against him. That’s completely inappropriate,” Combs said.”
It’s legally irrelevant, but psychologically, it is extremely relevant.
“Defense attorney Michael Barrett, who could not immediately be reached after the verdict, said in his closing argument that Kasper has maintained his innocence since his arrest last November and on the witness stand this week. Kasper testified that the girl, who is 13 now and was 12 at the time of the abuse, was angry with him because he disciplined her.
Barrett also stressed that the girl recanted what she told authorities when she took the witness stand on Tuesday, saying she dreamed about the abuse. Barrett argued to jurors that even if they didn’t believe that the girl dreamed it, she had 15 inconsistencies in what she told officials at her school, police and other investigators.
“The truth does not change. The state’s case is beginning to look like it’s built on a foundation of straw,” Barrett said. “(Kasper’s) innocent. Point blank — innocent.”
If a child sexual abuse victim has a perfect story, with no inconsistencies, then I would question if it were true. Child sexual abuse, especially rape, creates disjointed memory, and such strong emotional activity in the brain that it can cause memory disturbances. Trauma and fear in particular, can cause the child to be confused during, and after the abuse takes place. If there are several incidents of sexual abuse, the child often blends them together in their mind.
In addition, it is very common for child victims to recant their accusations, especially when under pressure from family or friends of the perpetrator.
“Assistant State’s Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein argued that after Kasper was arrested, he pressured the girl’s mother and aunt in recorded telephone conversations to get the girl to change her story or refuse to testify. But Barrett argued that what Kasper really said was if the girl didn’t tell the truth, he could be sent to prison.
“Her memories are clear. She has chosen not to talk about this (on the witness stand),” Eisenstein told the jury. “The defendant touched her inappropriately. She doesn’t waver on that.”
Eisenstein urged jurors to consider the girl’s videotaped interview to authorities and testimony from officials at her middle school who she initially told about the abuse.
“The defense would like you to believe that this was all a dream,” Eisenstein said. “Unfortunately, it was a nightmare.”