Ex-Gymnast coach sentenced to 96 years in prison by Will County judge for sexual assault of teenage

Ex-Gymnast coach sentenced to 96 years in prison by Will County judge for sexual assault of teenage

According to the Will County state’s attorney’s office, a former girls gymnastics instructor was given 96 years in prison on Tuesday for sexually assaulting a teenage gymnast roughly ten years ago.

After a four-day trial in June, a jury found Channahon resident Jose Vilchis, 72, guilty of eight counts of criminal sexual assault, according to the state’s attorney’s office. The jury was also shown evidence showing that Vilchis had sexually assaulted three other teenage girls as far back as 1997. At Vilchis’ sentencing hearing, two of the girls spoke, one of whom claimed Vilchis had regularly abused her sexually in the 1990s when he was her gymnastics coach.

“Jose Vilchis is a reprehensible sexual predator who calculatingly used his position of trust and authority to take advantage of innocent girls,” Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said.

“He repeatedly preyed upon young gymnasts in private under the guise of being a caring coach. I commend these young women for their courage in coming forward and telling their stories. Although nothing can undo the damage he caused, he will spend the rest of his days in a prison cell unable to prey on anyone else.”

The assault for which he was sentenced Tuesday took place in Channahon in 2013 and 2014, according to the state’s attorney’s office, when Vilchis was a coach at I&M Gymnastics.

Vilchis will receive credit for 1,591 days served, the state’s attorney’s office said, for his time already served in the Will County Adult Detention Facility since his arrest in 2018 on the charges stemming from the Channahon facility.

Originally from Mexico, Vilchis became a permanent resident of the U.S. in 1991 and a naturalized citizen in 1997. He competed in the 1968 Summer Olympics for Mexico before coaching at various facilities in the Chicago area including at the Beverly Gymnastics Center in Chicago and the American Academy of Gymnastics in Wheeling.

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Vilchis was accused of lying on his citizenship application by selecting “no” when asked if he had ever “knowingly committed any crime for which you have not been arrested” or if he had ever been convicted “of a crime involving moral turpitude,” according to a lawsuit the U.S. Department of Justice filed against him in 2019.

Vilchis allegedly sexually assaulted at least three young girls, some of whom were as young as 12, who he coached as early as 1985, according to the lawsuit.