EDWARDSVILLE — A jury on Thursday found Brian Weis guilty on three counts of criminal sexual assault and two counts of criminal sexual abuse stemming from 2017 events when the victim was 14.
The jury went out at 2:45 p.m. and rendered a verdict at about 8:30 p.m. Circuit Judge Kyle Napp ordered Weis taken into custody and said sentencing will be held after a pre-sentencing investigation.
Weis, 36, formerly a Granite City auxiliary police officer, could get up to 90 years in prison. According to testimony this week, he was introduced to girl by her mother, who was an employees at his insurance agency. He also had a gaming parlor.
Weis took the stand Thursday and denied any sexual activity with the girl, saying it was her idea to send the photos and he did not ask for them. However, he had difficulty explaining why he did not inform the girl’s mother, her foster mother or her case workers. The girl was in foster care because her mother was in prison.
He admitted to communicating with the girl via Facebook some 500 times during January 2017 and then told her to communicate via Snapchat, which deletes messages after they are sent.
Madison County Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Nolan said the case hinged on the victim’s emotional testimony. She said Weis’ behavior was a classic case of “grooming.”
Nolan said Weis took advantage of that to exploit the girl for his own gratification.
“The root of this case is do you believe (the victim,)” Nolan asked the jury in closing remarks. She said Weis’ behavior “goes against everything adults are supposed to do for children — everything that police are supposed to do for the community.”
Patty Radcliffe of the Madison County Child Advocacy Center this week testified that predators slowly draw victims in by progressively getting familiar with them. Weis allegedly got to know the girl by taking her to auxiliary police training sessions because she had said she wanted to become a police officer.
On Tuesday, the girl — now 16 —had difficulty getting the words out to a courtroom full of people. Nolan said the girl’s testimony matched up with hard evidence. The girl said she sent nude pictures of herself to Weis, and Nolan showed the pictures to the jury. Nolan said pictures became more and more revealing as time went on.
The girl’s testimony in court was largely matched by a recorded interview she gave at the Madison County Child Advocacy. A friend of the teen also testified this week that she was told about the acts by the victim.
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