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Vandalia man gets 16 years for sex crimes

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

A Vandalia man convicted in May on three charges alleging sex with a minor was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Tuesday.

A Fayette County jury found Jonathan L. Matthews, 20, guilty on May 29 of two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and one count aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The jury deliberated for 90 minutes before returning the three guilty verdicts.

The felony charges filed by Fayette County States Attorney Stephen Friedel in February alleged that the sex offenses occurred between April 1 and Dec. 27 of last year.

Predatory criminal sexual assault of a person under the age of 13 is a Class X felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Matthews was sentenced on Tuesday by Fayette County Resident Circuit Judge S. Gene Schwarm, who proceeded with sentencing arguments after denying a motion of a mental health evaluation, according to docket entries filed in the case.

Schwarm issued an eight-year sentence on each count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, with the sentences to be served consecutively. On the sexual abuse charge, Schwarm placed Matthews on probation for four years, with the probation sentence to also be served consecutively.