‘I never thought this day would come’: Victims address Woodstock man sentenced for decades-old sex crimes

Richard F. Wachter accepted a plea deal Wednesday and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for aggravated criminal sexual abuse and aggravated criminal sexual assault

A 56-year-old Woodstock man was sentenced to prison Wednesday for sexually abusing multiple children more than 20 years ago.

Several women held each other Wednesday afternoon as court security officers placed Richard F. Wachter in handcuffs and led him back to the McHenry County Jail.

“I never thought this day would come,” one of the women said in a victim-impact statement that prosecutors read aloud Wednesday. “We did it. We can now move forward.”

Wachter accepted an offer Wednesday from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office and pleaded guilty to two counts each of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and aggravated criminal sexual assault.

McHenry County Judge Michael Coppedge in turn sentenced Wachter to 10 years in prison on the sexual assault charges and five years for each of the two sexual abuse convictions.

The charges against Wachter were made possible by a law that was passed in 2017 and eliminated the statute of limitations on sexual assault and sexual abuse crimes against children. Because Wachter committed the acts before Illinois’ Truth in Sentencing and mandatory consecutive sentencing rules were established, however, he is required to serve only 50% of his 10-year term.

“This battle was worth every ounce of energy,” one woman said in a prepared statement.

She and two other women took the opportunity to confront Wachter in court Wednesday through victim-impact statements, calling the 56-year-old a “monster” and “weakling pipsqueak type of person.”

“I hope you never forget my name or my face,” one of the women said.

Wachter’s attorney, Keith Scherer, declined to comment after court Wednesday.

Woodstock police arrested Wachter in August 2018 on charges alleging that he sexually assaulted and abused three children in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

His arrest was the result of an eight-month investigation by McHenry County, California and Wisconsin authorities, according to a news release at the time.

Once he is released from prison, Wachter will be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.