CHICAGO (STMW) — Markham’s former deputy police chief Tony DeBois has been sentenced to five years in prison by a federal judge who found that he raped a prisoner, then lied to the FBI about it.
Criticizing DeBois for his “arrogance,” U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow told the disgraced 42-year-old, “You really deserve the five-year maximum.”
“Although that is an awful long time, that is the sentence I will impose.”
DeBois last year pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the number of women he’d had sex with inside south suburban Markham’s police station, but denied he raped a 21-year-old prisoner there in September 2010.
In return, prosecutors dropped a more serious charge centered on the rape, but continued to argue during a two-day sentencing hearing that the sexual assault should be held against DeBois.
DeBois was “the worst of the worst,” who used his position of power to threaten his victim and coerce her into sex, Assistant U.S. Attorney April Perry said Wednesday.
Lefkow agreed, saying that although there was no overt violence, it was more likely than not DeBois’s acts met the legal standard of rape.
“You were clothed in the raiments of office and through that had considerable power,” the judge said. “The thought that you could exploit this woman as you did is revolting.”
A downcast DeBois had earlier apologized to the judge, the FBI and federal prosecutors for lying in an interview, telling the court “I let myself down,” but made no mention of the rape.
He showed little emotion as the sentence was imposed, though several relatives in the courtroom sobbed.
Outside court, his attorney, Terry Ekl, said he “strongly disagreed” with the judge’s finding that DeBois had committed rape but added that DeBois’s options on appeal were limited.
Had DeBois been directly convicted of the sexual assault, he might have faced a sentence of 25 years to life, he added.
Ekl previously argued that the victim’s actions after the alleged rape — she sent DeBois text messages calling him “Baby” — showed she was an unreliable witness.
But Perry accused the defense of blaming the victim.
“This was a rape by the deputy chief of a police department,” she said. “This was an extremely serious offence . . . it jeopardizes society’s trust in law enforcement.”
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)