Sentencing was delayed Wednesday for a Grandwood Park man who had pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl, to give his defense attorney time to examine sex abuse charges filed against a juvenile sibling of the victim.
Attorney Jed Stone was granted the delay for Nyasha Mbawa, 20, by Lake County Judge James Booras in order to investigate the case filed against the sibling in juvenile court.
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Because the sibling is a juvenile, no specific details about the case were discussed in court Wednesday.
The charges against the sibling could show the victim in the Mbawa case was raised in a "culture of sex abuse," Stone said, and could help reduce Mbawa's prison sentence.
"If there was evidence that there was abuse in the family ... we'd like to know that," Stone said after the hearing. "Our only duty is to do justice, find out the facts, and get a just sentence."
Depending on what the investigation shows, Stone said, he could use information at Mbawa's new sentencing date scheduled for July 23.
While Booras agreed to give Stone an opportunity to investigate the charges, he also told Stone he didn't see how a charge against the sibling would affect Mbawa's potential prison sentence.
"It's hard to make the connection, Mr. Stone," Booras said, before adding that Stone was being "very creative."
Mbawa pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual assault April 15 and faces 13 to 30 years in prison for molesting the victim in 2012.
Mbawa was charged in July 2013 with 18 varying counts of sexually assaulting two young victims after the mother of one victim reported the assault to the Lake County sheriff's office. Authorities said Mbawa told detectives during questioning he had inappropriate sexual contact with the two victims.
As part of the plea deal, the remaining charges against Mbawa were dropped. He is held in Lake County jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
Stone said Mbawa was a victim of sexual abuse when he was a child.