BLOOMINGTON — A McLean County judge lamented the more than two years that Anthony Sullivan has spent in jail waiting for the sexual abuse charges against him to be resolved, noting the 19-year-old could leave prison without much treatment for a long list of mental health issues.
“Unfortunately, he’s been in custody 732 days and we can’t turn back the clock,” said Judge Scott Drazewski in comments ahead of sending Sullivan to prison for 4½ years for the January 2011 sexual abuse of a minor girl.
With credit for time served, Sullivan could be in a state prison about six months since he is eligible for day-for-day credit for good behavior.
Several factors delayed Sullivan’s case. After reading his sex offender evaluation, Judge Robert Freitag earlier rejected a proposed plea agreement that would have placed a five-year cap on a sentence.
The state then filed additional charges and the case was assigned to Judge James Souk, who retired before it was concluded.
When the case was transferred to Drazewski in December, the state asked for a new sentencing date after disclosing that a second plea agreement required an update of the sex offender evaluation — a process that could have taken five months. The county’s court services staff intervened and the report was completed in about a month.
The concern over how much help Sullivan might get from the overcrowded, fiscally-strapped state prison system was recognized by the judge and defense lawyer Jane Foster.
After the hearing, Foster said her recommendation of sex offender probation would have linked Sullivan to community-based services.
“The only chance he had to address the root of the problem was probation where he would have received treatment,” said Foster.
Assistant State’s Attorney Adam Ghrist asked the judge to consider a five-year prison term, saying Sullivan was rated a high risk to the community in the sex offender evaluation. Sullivan’s understanding of proper sexual conduct was alarmingly poor, he said.
Sullivan “poses a substantial risk — a risk to girls his age and children in general,” said Ghrist.
Foster pointed out Sullivan has been the victim of abuse since childhood and has received mental health treatment at the jail.
Options exist that could keep Sullivan in prison longer under state laws related to sexually dangerous and violent offender rules. Prosecutors could file petitions asking that Sullivan remain in prison for additional treatment.