In Iroquois Circuit Court, an Onarga man was handed an 18-year prison term for sexually abusing two girls several years ago. The girls testified they were just eight-years-old when the abuse started.
47-year-old Jose Ramon Villanueva Jr. was found guilty of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, criminal sexual assault, and criminal sexual abuse. All are felony counts.
Villanueva was facing a 45-year prison term. Judge Gordon Lustfeldt handed down the sentence.
The abuse, according to the now-adult victims, started several years ago. Villanueva was arrested in June. State's Attorney Jim Devine said the victims disclosed the abuse to their family in 2006, but Villanueva denied their claims so they were not believed.
Devine said "as the girls grew older and matured, they gained confidence and reported it to our local sexual assault services." The now 23 and 17-year-old victims contacted police.
The 23-year-old victim said the abuse started in 1999, when she was about 8 years old, and continued until she graduated from high school in 2010. The younger now 17-year-old victim had a similar story saing Villanueva abused her over the course of a year when she was 8 years old.