Champaign man gets 30 years for molesting care facility resident

Champaign man gets 30 years for molesting care facility resident

URBANA — A Champaign man convicted of molesting a 90-year-old resident of a memory care facility in Champaign more than two years ago has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Dontrell Netter, 24, last of the 2300 block of Southmoor Drive, will have to serve at least 25 1/2 years of that but was given credit for a year and three months that he's been in custody.

In early December, a jury convicted Netter of aggravated criminal sexual assault, attempted aggravated criminal sexual assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated criminal sexual assault.

The charges stemmed from a scheme devised by former Bickford Cottage employee Channing Butler to invite young men to the facility to have sex with women there afflicted with dementia while he took pictures of the activity.

Butler, 28, of Champaign is serving a 14-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in July 2016 to solicitation to commit aggravated criminal sexual assault. He admitted arranging for Netter and two other men to have sex with three different women at the facility at 1002 S. Staley Road, C, in summer 2015.

Evidence showed that late at night he let them in the building, where he was the sole caretaker on duty in that area.

"Hopefully, there is a special place in hell for people like Channing Butler," said Judge Tom Difanis, who stepped in to handle Netter's case.

Judge Heidi Ladd previously accepted guilty pleas from Butler and co-defendants Dean Goble, 23, and Trent Warren, 20. Goble and Warren each pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated criminal sexual assault and received prison sentences of 14 and 10 years, respectively.

Netter's attorney, Michael McClellan, urged Difanis to sentence Netter to no more than what the other men received.

He said Netter fell victim to what many young men do — the desire to have sex. But he argued that it was Butler who approached his client in a "duplicitous" way, telling Netter that he had an opportunity to be with a woman around age 50.

"All that Dontrell knows at that moment is he's got a chance to get more sexual experience. That is a desire that has led many young men to do things that in the calm light of day they would never contemplate doing," he said.

McClellan then reminded Difanis that Netter — who continued to proclaim his innocence — was linked to only one act with one woman.

But Assistant State's Attorney Matt Banach called Netter's actions "calculated and despicable" and committed "against one of the most vulnerable victims in our society."

Banach asked the judge to sentence Netter to 50 years in prison.

Netter had prior adjudications as a juvenile for theft and attempted burglary and as an adult for resisting a peace officer, burglary and unlawful possession of weapons by a felon.

He was on parole at the time he committed the sex act with the 90-year-old woman.

Netter's grandparents, who adopted him from their daughter at age 2, both testified in hopes of getting Difanis to impose a lesser sentence.

His grandmother described him as a child "who didn't like to sit in one spot too long" but said he was smart and made good grades and did not have problems with impulse control.

Netter's grandfather told the judge he felt his grandson was unjustly convicted.

Netter told the judge his grandparents raised him with good values and that his criminal history "is not an accurate representation of my character."

"I'm sorry that I let myself fall victim to being led astray by Mr. Butler. I believe they got it wrong," he said of the jury's verdict.

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GLG wrote on January 19, 2018 at 6:01 am

"Netter's grandfather told the judge he felt his grandson was unjustly convicted."   Arn't they all?


Objective Reporter wrote on January 19, 2018 at 9:01 am