A man found guilty of sex crimes involving minors earlier this month received a maximum prison sentence Wednesday during a hearing in the Champaign County Common Pleas Court.
Jeffrey L. McClain, 63, received a 13-year prison sentence two weeks after he was found guilty of two counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of endangering children during a bench trial.
The charges involved two children and the conduct reportedly occurred between April 2017, and November 2018.
Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi said McClain has continued to maintain his innocence. Talebi said the state viewed this claim as not credible and inconsistent with McClain’s conduct.
Talebi noted that during an interview with law enforcement about a sleepover with minors at his residence, McClain said nothing out of the ordinary took place. Talebi added it was not until McClain was asked about certain allegations that McClain stated there was a display of a sexual act by one of the minors.
Talebi said McClain never reported the incident at the sleepover to anyone prior to meeting with law enforcement.
“The state believes that (the victim) was sexually assaulted, the state believes it was the defendant who was the perpetrator and this is the explanation for why the defendant did not report it to law enforcement, this is the explanation why he didn’t report it to any authorities because the defendant didn’t want anyone to know that (the victim) was being sexually assaulted and abused by the defendant,” Talebi said.
During a pre-sentence investigation interview, Talebi said McClain acknowledged inappropriate behavior with the same victim including showering with them and sleeping nude with them.
A sentencing memorandum filed by Talebi last Friday notes McClain was convicted of disorderly conduct in the Champaign County Municipal Court for conduct in July 2018 with the same minor. The charge, which was reduced from a first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence charge, involved McClain reportedly striking the victim in the face with an open hand, according to a court statement filed in the municipal court.
“The state continues to take the position that a prison sentence is appropriate and necessary,” Talebi said. “The state would remind the court – as it has in the sentencing memorandum – that both of these offenses carry with it a presumption in favor of prison and the state’s position is that a non-prison sentence would demean the seriousness of this offense. The defendant nowhere through the course of his conduct at trial or his conduct during the (pre-sentence investigation) interview acknowledges any wrongdoing and demonstrates no genuine remorse for anything he did with regards to these children.”
Talebi asked the court to impose a maximum prison sentence.
A relative of two victims in the case spoke about how McClain preyed on the children and their innocence and how McClain’s conduct has continued to impact the children and their family.
“You will never understand what you have done, the irreparable damage you have caused and I honestly don’t think you even think you care especially after seeing you smiling outside the courthouse after hearing the convictions,” the relative said.
Throughout the sentencing hearing, McClain continued to maintain his innocence and at one point in the hearing contended the minors who testified during trial “testified different than what the truth was.”
Judge Nick Selvaggio said one of the things that surprised the court during testimony was the revelation of a lubrication product that was found in McClain’s bedroom. When asked why the product was in his room, McClain said he had purchased the product for one of the minors at their request.
As part of sentencing, the two gross sexual imposition charges were merged into one count due to the charges being allied offenses of similar import.
Prior to sentencing, McClain was classified as a Tier II sex offender.
Upon his release, McClain is subject to post-release control for a period of five years.