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posted: 3/19/2010 12:01 AM

Convicted child molester going to prison for 240 years

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  • Michael Rebecca

    Michael Rebecca


Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak said Thursday that he wanted to avoid overkill in determining a sentence for Michael Rebecca.

Then he said that in the case of Rebecca, who was convicted of molesting three young boys and accused of molesting six others, there was no such thing.

Rebecca, 52, was sentenced to 180 years in prison Thursday for the last two convictions, time that will be served on top of the 60-year sentence he received for the first.

"When I look at the defendant objectively and dispassionately, only two words come to mind," Potkonjak said. "And those two words are 'evil' and 'betrayal.'"

Rebecca hosted what he called "a sex club for boys" between 11 and 16 in his Vernon Hills condominium between 2003 and 2007, plying the boys with gifts and cash.

The children, who were all the sons of Rebecca's friends, spent weekends and summer vacations at his side and in his bedroom without ever speaking a word of what was happening to them.

The bubble burst in November 2007, when one of the boys went to police and led them to the other victims, and Rebecca wound up giving authorities a six-hour videotaped confession.

"I keep using the phrase 'sexual acts' when what happened here were crimes," Assistant State's Attorney Stephen Scheller said. "Dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens of crimes."

Rebecca was found guilty of 28 counts of predatory sexual assault of a child, criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse by a jury that deliberated less than an hour in January.

In February, another jury took less than an hour to convict him of eight counts of criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

A third jury found him guilty of 20 counts of criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse last September. That resulted in his first 60-year sentence.

Rebecca told police the boys manipulated him and took advantage of him sexually because he was weakened by sleep apnea.

Defense attorney James Schwarzbach asked Potkonjak to consider minimum terms for his client in the two final cases because Rebecca was already doomed to die in prison.

"There are facts here I cannot argue against and aggravating factors I cannot mitigate," he said. "I can ask that you be dispassionate in the administration of justice."

Assistant State's Attorney Bolling Haxall urged Potkonjak to consider that although Rebecca had admitted his crimes, he had never expressed any remorse.

"We have here a defendant who at every turn has made his entire life about himself," Haxall said. "He is as narcissistic a person as we will ever stumble upon."

Rebecca declined to make a statement to the court when given the opportunity.

After the three convictions, Scheller and Haxall obtained the permission of the parents of the other six victims to dismiss the charges pertaining to their sons.

They did, however, ask Potkonjak to consider the facts of those cases in fashioning Rebecca's sentence.

In his statement to the court, one of the victims said three trials were three too many.

"Mike's arrogance makes me very angry," the boy said. "I never should have had to go to court, he should have just told the truth about what he did to me."