Carol Stream molestation case headed to jury Tuesday
The case against a Carol Stream registered sex offender accused of molesting two teenage girls will go to a DuPage County jury Tuesday morning.
Both sides rested their case Friday in the trial of Joel Augustine. Closing arguments will begin at 9:30 a.m. before the case is sent to the jury.
Augustine, of the 500 block of East Thornhill Drive, faces three counts of criminal sexual assault, one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child and one count of child pornography. He has been held on $1 million bail since his Oct. 15, 2012, arrest.
Augustine is accused of having nude photos of one of the girls on his cellphone and molesting another underage teenager three times during an August 2012 sleepover at his house. Augustine was dating the mother of one of the girls.
During the three-day trial the girl, now 16, testified Augustine molested her routinely from the fall of 2009 until the final assault on Oct. 11, 2012, when she contemplated hanging herself to end the abuse.
The teen testified she never told anyone about what was happening because she was intimidated by Augustine.
"I cried. I knew what was happening was wrong," she told jurors. "But at the time, I didn't understand why it was happening."
The "secret" Augustine is alleged to have made the girl keep was exposed in October 2012 when the younger girl told her parents Augustine had inappropriately touched her during an August 2012 sleepover at Augustine's home, according to testimony. The older girl also testified Augustine attempted to make her smoke marijuana in an attempt to see how "crazy" she could get.
"I was scared and uncomfortable," the second girl told jurors of the three separate assaults she said she endured during the sleepover. "I just wanted to get through the night."
An investigation was launched by the DuPage County Children's Advocacy Center, and that led to the charges against Augustine.
Children's center investigator Taras Haliw testified that during an interview at the Roselle Police Department, Augustine admitted he may have mistakenly assaulted the first girl "only one time."
DuPage County Sheriff's detective Thomas Brown testified Augustine's phone contained "thousands" of texts and hundreds of photos of the girl, including some nude and near-nude images.
Augustine's parents, Diane and David Augustine, testified on behalf of their son, stressing that not only is Augustine a good man but that his erratic work schedule as an electrician created conflicts with when some of the abuse is alleged to have happened.
Diane Augustine and cousin Stephanie Zawistowski also told jurors that the first girl has a reputation as a liar and is not to be trusted under oath.
Officials said Augustine declined a plea deal immediately before the trial began that would have capped his sentence at 15 years. If convicted, he now faces several charges that carry consecutive prison terms of up to 15 years each,
Augustine served time in prison and became a registered sex offender after he was convicted of attacking his then-17-year-old girlfriend near her workplace in 1999, when he was 21 years old, according to court records.
He also has prior arrests for marijuana possession, drunken driving, domestic battery and failure to register as a sex offender, among other offenses.