A Sugar Grove man was sentenced Thursday to 45 years in prison for sexually assaulting a foster child in his care.
Kane County Judge D.J. Tegeler agreed with Assistant State's Attorney Lori Schmidt, who said Noel F. Buhay, 49, used his position as a foster parent to gain access to the victim and then abused the trust of the child and the trust the state had put in him to provide a good home.
Schmidt had asked for 60 years. Buhay's attorney requested the minimum, 18 years.
A jury found Buhay guilty in March of three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of child younger than 13.
The victim, now 23, was 11 at the time of the assault in 2005. He testified at trial that he told a state employee about the assaults back then. He reported the assault to authorities in 2014 after learning that Buhay had been charged in 2013 with assaulting and abusing another child.
At Thursday's sentencing hearing, he spoke of how the assaults and the trial have affected him:
He told the court that he lost his job after taking time off to attend the trial and that he lost his housing and is now homeless. He suffers nightmares about the abuse, wetting the bed and screaming so loud neighbors complained. He can't stand to have people sit behind him in small spaces. He suffers from depression, and when he did have a home, he had the landlord put three dead bolts on his bedroom door. He is confused about his sexuality. He said Buhay would ask him whether he wanted Buhay to be a father or a boyfriend.
"This man stole my childhood, and by making me wait 12 years for justice, he came back and stole my adulthood," the victim said.
Besides being a foster parent, Buhay was a volunteer with Court Appointed Special Advocates of Kane County, a group that looks out for the interests of children in the court system, for three months in 2005 before the group dismissed him.
Buhay, of the 1100 block of Dorr Drive, has been in the Kane County jail since he was convicted.
He must serve 85 percent of his sentence and register as a sex offender for life. That means he will spend at least 38 years incarcerated.
Tegeler delayed Buhay's transfer to prison until another case against him, in which he accused of sexually assaulting and abusing another child, is resolved. It resumes Aug. 24.
Tegeler also ordered Buhay to pay $45,000 for psychological treatment for the victim for the next three years.