Savoy man gets 20 years for molesting fellow church member's daughter


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URBANA — A Savoy man assisting a fellow church member experiencing hard times is headed to prison for 20 years for molesting that person's daughter.

George Henderson III, 66, who listed an address in the 300 block of Ellen Drive, pleaded guilty Thursday before Judge Heidi Ladd to predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. He will have to serve at least 17 years behind bars for the Class X felony conviction.

In exchange for his plea, other charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and predatory criminal sexual assault were dismissed.

Henderson admitted that between December 2017 and February 2018, he made sexual contact with the girl in his home, where she was visiting with her mother. The girl told Champaign County sheriff's investigators that she had received "bad touches" from Henderson on two occasions.

Henderson's plea agreement, negotiated by Assistant State's Attorney Matt Banach and Public Defender Janie Miller-Jones, headed off a trial for the victim, who is under 13. Banach said the victim and her mother approved of the plea.

Banach said Henderson had been previously convicted in 2000 in Milwaukee for first-degree sexual assault of a child.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).