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updated: 8/22/2013 6:09 PM

Winthrop Harbor teen pleads guilty in day-care sex assault case

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  • Brett A. Degler

    Brett A. Degler


A Winthrop Harbor teen was sentenced to six years in prison for molesting children while assisting at his mother's in-home day-care facility.

Under the plea agreement Thursday, Brett Degler, now 19, must also serve 48 months on probation, and 48 months in periodic imprisonment when not working and attending counseling and court. He must also register as a sex offender for life.

Degler pleaded guilty to a single count of predatory criminal sexual assault and one count of attempted predatory criminal sexual assault in front of Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti.

Because he pleaded guilty to two separate acts, Degler must serve the sentences consecutively, and the probation and periodic imprisonment will not begin until after his six-year prison term is completed.

He was originally charged with three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and five counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse following his arrest in March 2012.

Degler was held on $500,000 bond while awaiting trial, which was originally scheduled to begin Monday.

Winthrop Harbor police said Degler assaulted two 11-year-old victims, and a 4-year-old victim while working at his mother's day-care. The assaults took place between November 2011 and March 2012, authorities said.

Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Eric Kalata said in court the 4-year-old victim complained in March 2012 of groin pain after visiting the day-care facility, and her parents took her to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

After an examination showed the girl had been assaulted, the victim told police what Degler was doing to her. Degler was arrested and charged after giving a full confession to police.

Police said his mother had no knowledge of the attacks and voluntarily terminated her day-care license when police informed her of the accusations against her son. She was not charged in the case.

As part of his sentence, Degler is also not allowed to have any contact with children under the age of 17, is never allowed to have any contact with the victims of the crimes, and must supply a DNA sample for state records.

Degler received 526 days of credit for time served in Lake County jail since his arrest.

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