Former Crystal Lake man sentenced to 60 years in prison for predatory criminal sexual assault

Juan Jose Cheverez

At 6, a child is “supposed to be in kindergarten learning what her colors are and to count,” a judge said Tuesday in sentencing a man to 60 years in prison for sexually assaulting a girl in a Crystal Lake home until she was about 10.

Juan Cheverez, 41, was convicted by a jury in March on three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, Class X felonies for which he faced 18 to 180 years in prison. The assaults allegedly occurred “multiple times” from about 2007 to 2012, prosecutors and McHenry County Judge Tiffany Davis said.

Davis said Cheverez, who appeared to be wiping away tears during the hearing, threatened the child and her family should she tell anyone, told her no one would believe her, and has shown no remorse or taken any accountability. The judge also referred to trial testimony in which the now-adult victim said he assaulted her “multiple times a week.”

Cheverez took the stand during the trial and denied assaulting the child. But the victim also took the stand and, Davis said, the jury “found her credible.”

Jurors returned with their verdict after just about 2½ hours of deliberating.

Cheverez is required to serve 85% of his prison term and will receive credit for 820 days spent in custody. With truth in sentencing, he would serve 51 years in “actual custody,” Davis said. At 92 years old, when he is released, he will serve mandatory supervised release for three years to life. He also now is a registered sex offender for life.

Although previously reported that Cheverez was arrested in Iowa, Davis said Tuesday that he was taken into custody Feb. 14, 2022, while reentering the U.S. from Mexico. He left Crystal Lake in 2011 – when the child reported the abuse – and moved to Iowa, where he lived until 2018, when he went back to Mexico, Davis said.

Cheverez’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Kim Messer, said he grew up poor in Mexico City. He slept on the ground and used newspapers for blankets. His mother and the mother of his child have died, and his 8-year-old daughter likely will become a ward of the state in Mexico, where she lives. Messer also said he has been respectful and patient while in custody, is only “six months shy of” earning a bachelor’s degree and has spent his life “working hard.”

Messer asked that he be sentenced to the minimum of six years on each charge to be served consecutively for a total of 18 years in prison.

However, Assistant State’s Attorney Ashur Youash argued that Cheverez be sentenced to 90 years in prison, noting that he showed no remorse.

Youash referred to the victim’s five-page impact statement, saying the victim “outlined what the assaults did to her [and] the impact it will have on her life for the rest of her life.”