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Convicted ex-gymnastics coach faces at least 32 years for sexual assault of teen in Channahon

Jose Vilchis

Joliet — A former gymnastics coach from Mexico who procured his citizenship illegally was found guilty of sexually assaulting a teenage gymnast in Channahon almost a decade ago.

On Monday, the jury rendered its verdict against 71-year-old Jose Vilchis in faster than two hours following a four-day trial before Will County Judge Dan Rippy, according to a news release from Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow.

The abuse of the girl occurred in Channahon in 2013 and 2014 when Vilchis was a coach at I&M Gymnastics in Channahon, Glasgow said.

Vilchis faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 32 years and he is eligible for a maximum sentence of 120 years, Glasgow said.

Vilchis’ next court date is slated for Aug. 24.

Glasgow said the jury also heard evidence that Vilchis “engaged in sexual crimes against three other teenage girls going back as far as 1997.”

Federal prosecutors alleged Vilchis sexually assaulted two female minors he coached at American Academy of Gymnastics in Wheeling and Illinois Gymnastics Experience in South Holland between 1988 and 1997, according to a May 5, 2021, memorandum filed in federal court by U.S. Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman.

Vilchis failed to respond to prosecutors’ allegations and submitted no evidence of his own, Coleman said.

The prosecutors’ allegations about Vilchis past sex crimes against minors led Coleman to declare Vilchis – a Mexican national – had procured his U.S. citizenship illegally.

Vilchis applied for permanent residency in 1991, applied for naturalization in 1996 and became a U.S. citizen in 1997.

“By committing these unlawful acts which adversely reflected on his moral character, Vilchis was statutorily ineligible for naturalization. Therefore, the court must revoke Vilchis’ citizenship because it was illegally procured,” Coleman said.

Vilchis competed for Mexico in men’s gymnastics at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City before he relocated to Illinois, according to Coleman’s memorandum. Vilchis would’ve been 19 at the Summer Olympics that year.

Vilchis was first arrested and taken to Will County jail in the Channahon case on Oct. 15, 2018.

Vilchis was working at Walmart, 2424 W. Jefferson St., Joliet, before his arrest, according to court filings from his attorney, Michael Fleming.

Vilchis was prosecuted by Will County assistant state’s attorneys Mary Fillipitch and Tricia McKenna.