Blog: VanHoutte Hearing February 16, 2012

Check here to read the blog updates from Jason VanHoutte’s appearance in court at 2 p.m. Thursday, February 16, 2012.

2:27 P.M. Court adjourned.  Mr. VanHoutte was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs to complete his prison sentence at the Illinois Department of Corrections.

2:26 P.M. Mr. VanHoutte has waived his right to have a pre-sentencing investigation prior to sentencing.  The judge sentenced him to four years in prison to be followed by three years to live on probation.  He must serve 85% or approximately 40.8 months in jail.  Then on count two he was sentenced to three years in prison, and 50% of that sentence is mandatory before he can be released on two years of probation.  The jail time in consecutive to the count 1 sentence, but the probation time may be served concurrent with the probation for the count 1 sentence.

He will serve the balance of his sentence serve with credit for time served since he reported to the Department of Corrections on July 1, 2010.

Mr. VanHoutte has 30 days to withdraw his agreement to the terms of the amended charges and plea.

2:23 P.M. Member of the team of prosecuting attorneys asks the judge to consider text messaging contact between Mr. VanHoutte and the alleged victim.

2:21 P.M. Mr. VanHoutte has entered a written guilty plea to the amended counts.

2:20 P.M. Count 1 sentence – he must serve about 40.8 months minimum before he can be released.  Count 2 sentence would require he serve at least 50% of his jail sentence.  He’ll get credit for time already served.

2:18 P.M. AMENDED Allegation says Mr. VanHoutte committed criminal sexual assault with a minor with a July 1993 birthdate by having sexual intercourse with the minor.  Count 2 amended says Mr. VanHoutte committed aggravated criminal sexual assault with the same victim.  He can only get a jail sentence for the first count, and jail and/or probation for the second count.  In addition, he would be required to register as a sex offender if convicted.

2:14 P.M. – The judge says there was an error in the terms if Mr. VanHoutte’s sentence pursuant to his plea ageement.  Cited a case with nearly-identical circumstances in Henry County in the third circuit. Judge says therefore the sentence is void.

2:11 P.M. Court is now in session.

2:09 P.M. Attorneys just entered the courtroom.

2:04 P.M. – Mr. VanHoutte entered the courtroom wearing a dress shirt and slacks.  He is in handcuffs and seated at a table in the front of the courtroom, facing the judge’s bench.  Two law enforcement fficers are seated directly behind him.

2:02 P.M. – Today also marks the first time a video camera has been permitted in a Rock Island County courtroom since the state approved cameras in court in 2012.

1:55 P.M. – About a dozen people plus members of the media are assembled in the gallery awaiting the start of the hearing, scheduled for 2 p.m.

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Background:

Former teacher and coach Jason VanHoutte was sentenced in 2010 to 12 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to having sex with a teenage student.

Former state’s attorney Jeff Terronez, who prosecuted VanHoutte, was later convicted of providing alcohol to that same girl.

VanHoutte’s attorney had sought to overturn the conviction because of Terronez’s relationship with the girl.  He later filed an amended motion, though, supporting an amended sentence because of a legal technicality discovered by a judge reviewing the case.

Judge Mike Meersman said VanHoutte was incorrectly told he faced two years of probation, when the correct information is that his probation could last from three years to life.

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