Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Appellate Court Affirms Conviction for Child Abduction
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin announced today that the Second District Appellate Court of Illinois has affirmed the conviction of Guiseppe Ressa, 38, formerly of West Chicago, who was found guilty of abducting and making physical contact with young children on multiple occasions in 2015. On March 2, 2017, Judge Robert Miller found Ressa guilty of five counts of Child Abduction (Class 4 Felony) and two counts of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse (Class 2 Felony) following a two-day-long bench trial. On May 18, 2017, Judge Miller sentenced Ressa, to twenty years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
On May 27, 2015, Ressa approached a pair of siblings, a five-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl, in the playground of the apartment complex where they lived in Lisle. While the children were playing, Ressa carried the girl to a slide, got on top of her and physically restrained her from leaving until an older sibling came to the playground to call the children home for dinner. Additionally, Ressa offered the boy toys if he went to his vehicle with him. The children’s parents immediately reported the incident to the Lisle Police Department who identified Ressa as a possible suspect. Five days later, on June 1, while conducting surveillance on Ressa, detectives observed him with three children, two girls and one boy ages seven to four, in front of an apartment building in Addison. Ressa gave the children candy and told them he would give them more if they accompanied him to another apartment building. As two of the children began to follow Ressa, the third child returned to the family’s apartment and told her mother what was happening outside. During this time, Ressa and the two children walked to the entrance of an apartment building and continued their conversation. While they were talking, Ressa rubbed the upper leg of the girl. Upon observing this, detectives approached Ressa and placed him under arrest.
In his appeal, Ressa claimed his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to pursue an insanity defense. Ressa also claimed that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting numerous writings of Ressa and other materials into evidence and that the evidence admitted was insufficient to support the convictions. Additionally, Ressa claimed that the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing him to a term of twenty years. In its affirmation, the Appellate Court found that, pursuant to the State’s motion, a court-ordered evaluation concluded that Ressa “does not present with symptoms of a psychiatric disorder that would have impaired his ability to lack substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct between May 27, and June 1, 2015.” Regarding Ressa’s claims against the admission of evidence of his writings and other materials, the Appellate Court found that the writings, which included admissions of his desire to commit sexual assaults upon children and outlines of various strategies on how to commit such acts and otherwise demonstrated his disturbing fascination with the notorious crimes committed against Samantha Runnion, who at five years of age was abducted from her yard on July 15, 2002, and thereafter raped and murdered, were relevant to show defendant’s intent to commit the crimes with which he was charged. The Appellate Court also found that when considering the “defendant’s writings regarding his preoccupation with sexual activity with children…we cannot say that the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing the defendant to an aggregate term of 20 years in prison.”
“I would like to thank the Appellate Court for their extremely thorough and detailed analysis of Mr. Ressa’s claims,” Berlin said. “In its judgement, the Appellate Court saw through Mr. Ressa’s attempt to avoid responsibility for his actions. Their ruling firmly confirms the fact that Mr. Ressa is a dangerous man who is obsessed with committing crimes against children. I would also like to thank Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Fleming for outstanding work in ensuring that Mr. Ressa is held accountable for his actions.”
Justice Burke delivered the judgment of the Court with Justices Zenoff and Spence concurring.