A jury deliberated about two hours Wednesday before convicting a Naperville man of repeatedly raping two preteen family members sent to live with him after their mother was murdered.
Christopher A. Carter, 43, faces a mandatory life term when he goes before DuPage County Judge George Bakalis for sentencing.
Prosecutors said Carter took custody of the girls in late 2004 after their mother was murdered in St. Louis and immediately began grooming them for a "ritualistic pattern of sexual assaults."
The assaults began with one of the girls when she was about 10 and continued with the other years later when she reached roughly the same age, according to Assistant State's Attorneys Enza LaMonica and Demetri Demopoulos.
Carter had maintained the girls were lying because they did not like his strict discipline, which involved belts and a homemade wooden paddle. But prosecutors contended that strong DNA evidence and detailed statements by the victims proved their case.
"Nothing he (Carter) said can be corroborated," Demopoulos told the jury in closing arguments. "He wants you to take his word for it."
State's Attorney Robert Berlin said the victims "endured years of abuse before they were even teenagers."
"The victims had just lost their mother to murder and were sent to live with him," Berlin said. "Instead of loving and nurturing them in their most desperate time of need, Mr. Carter used and abused them to satisfy his own nauseating desires."
Carter, a former engineer, returns to court Sept. 13 for a pre-sentence report. He has been in the county jail since his arrest in May 2008.