Champaign man gets 23 years for sexual assault of girl under 13

Champaign man gets 23 years for sexual assault of girl under 13

URBANA — A Champaign man who had sexually assaulted two girls as a juvenile was sentenced Friday to 23 years in prison for sexually assaulting a child in March 2017.

Judge Tom Difanis called it “chilling” that the circumstances of Brian Kocher’s 2017 assault on a young girl were so similar to offenses he committed in 2009 as a teen.

In an hourlong hearing Friday, Assistant State’s Attorney Troy Lozar presented evidence to aggravate the sentence of the 23-year-old Kocher, who last lived in the 4800 block of West Windsor Road.

Kocher pleaded guilty in April to predatory criminal sexual assault of a child for molesting a girl under the age of 13 who has learning disabilities.

Lozar said Kocher was an overnight guest in the Urbana home of the girl’s family. When her parents went to work on March 11, 2017, they left Kocher and other adults in charge of the girl and other younger children.

Kocher admitted that he sexually assaulted the child in her bedroom that day.

At the time Kocher pleaded guilty, Lozar agreed to seek no more than 23 years in prison for him, even though he could have received 60 years. He will have to serve at least 19 1/2 years but was given credit on his sentence for 449 days already served.

Lozar had Champaign County sheriff’s Lt. Tony Shaw and former sheriff’s investigator Travis Burr testify about their 2009 investigation of Kocher, who was charged as a juvenile with committing sex acts on two different girls.

Shaw said one of the girls functioned several years below her actual age due to cognitive deficiencies.

He and Burr said the girls reported Kocher’s actions to their parents, who didn’t initially believe them, and later to authorities at their school in March 2009.

The detectives investigated and eventually Kocher admitted to the sex acts, which included acts of bestiality with one of the girls.

In an attempt to lessen Kocher’s sentence, defense attorney Walter Ding had Kocher’s mother testify.

She told Difanis — who presided over the earlier juvenile case — that her son had been diagnosed as early as the first or second grade with mental issues including bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

He was sent to facilities in Streamwood, Urbana and Carbondale for treatment over the years and was released a year or two ago, she said. She described his treatment as inconsistent.

The victim in the 2017 case chose to read aloud a statement to the judge.

“Because of what he did, I tried to kill myself ... because I didn’t feel loved. I hate him. I wish he never touched me and I could go back to before,” she said. “I hope he spends a lot of time in prison for hurting me so bad. I have to talk to social people and take medication so I don’t hurt myself.”

The child’s mother expanded, saying that her daughter was so traumatized by the assault that she can’t be left alone. The mother said she had to quit her job and tried home-schooling her daughter, who lashed out violently at other males in the wake of what happened.

Lozar recommended the 23 years while Ding asked for 10, saying that Kocher had a “troubled youth” but is still a young man with rehabilitative potential.

Difanis said Lozar’s cap of 23 years in prison was appropriate given “the history, character and condition of the defendant.”

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