Tears poured from her eyes as the victim’s mother spoke of the pain her child suffers from to this day. Her daughter, who's now eight years old, was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a man she trusted, a teacher’s aide at the Belvidere Early Learning Center.
Samuel Feffer pled guilty to one count of predatory criminal sexual assault and Tuesday, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
"I think it was a fair sentence. It's certainly, it's a difficult situation for a judge to have to sentence a young 18-year-old kid on an offense such as this, considering both sides of the case," says state's attorney Lise Lombardo.
The victims' mother says her daughter is now terrified to be alone and she cuts herself until she bleeds. Before making his decision, the judge said Feffer has a history of showing defiance to authority, adding that Feffer held a position of trust and supervision to his young victim and continued to commit horrific offenses. Feffer's attorney says he hoped his client would have received a lighter sentence.
"In my guess, I was five years off. However, I can still, as an attorney, be satisfied that I was able to be of some service to my client," says Feffer's attorney, Azhar Minhas.
During testimony, state's attorney Lise Lombardo said she hoped a stiff sentence would take away a piece of Feffer's life the way he had taken away a piece of his victim’s life.
"The testimony very emotional, it can be difficult, but certainly there's a reason I do this job and it's to protect people like the victim in this case, and try to ensure that it doesn't happen again, or doesn't continue to happen again," says Lombardo.
Feffer will have to serve 85 percent of his 20-year sentence, which is 17 years. Before he was sentenced, Feffer said he was sorry for what he did and takes responsibility for his actions.
In February of 2005, a few weeks after Feffer was arrested, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services closed the Belvidere Early Learning Center. DCFS accused the center of disregarding licensing standards.