EFFINGHAM — An Effingham man has pleaded guilty to criminal sexual assault involving a female under the age of 18.

Paul W. Jonas, 49, pleaded guilty to the Class 1 felony this week. One count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim less than 18 years old was dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Jonas will serve 85 percent, or just over six years, of a 7.5 year Illinois Department of Corrections sentence, followed by a minimum of three years to a maximum of natural life of mandatory supervised release.

Jonas has credit for 264 days served in the Effingham County Jail.

Jonas must report to the Effingham County Circuit Clerk's office 30 days following his release and register as a sex offender. He must also undergo sexually transmitted diseases and human immunodeficiency virus testing and make the results available to the court.

His $100 fine is covered by his $30-a-day credit for time served in the county jail. He still owes $749 to the court.

Jonas is also to have no contact with the victim in the case.

In his factual basis, Effingham County State's Attorney Bryan Kibler said that between 2013 and 2018, Jonas committed the act of criminal sexual assault on a female who was under the age of 18 at the time.

Kibler said that on one occasion, Jonas laid his sexual organs on the victim's private area, which falls under Illinois' definition of sexual penetration.

Kibler said that Effingham authorities were notified by the Mattoon Police Department in October 2019 that they were investigating a sexual assault that occurred in Effingham, leading Effingham police to arrest Jonas.

Kibler said in addition to the aforementioned assault, Jonas would also touch the victim inappropriately, fondled her buttocks and observed her not fully clothed.

Also at the plea hearing, the victim read a victim impact statement to the court.

The victim said her childhood was filled with "horrible memories" because of Jonas' acts, and the abuse caused her to feel she had no control over her life.

She said that she had suffered damage in her life because of Jonas.

"I strongly believe you will get what you deserve," the victim said of Jonas. "Karma will come."

Jonas now awaits a transfer to IDOC.



Kaitlin Cordes covers Effingham County, police and courts and sports features for the Effingham Daily News. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University. Cordes is a native of Effingham.

Recommended for you