Ex-Markham deputy police chief raped a prisoner, gets 5 years in prison
BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter April 9, 2014 12:50PM
Tony D. DeBois leaves the Everett M. Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago, after a court appearance on March 7, 2013. | Sun-Times Media files
Updated: May 11, 2014 9:48AM
Markham’s former Deputy Police Chief Tony DeBois has been sentenced to five years in prison by a federal judge who found that he raped a prisoner.
Criticizing DeBois for his “arrogance,” U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow told the disgraced 42-year-old, “You really deserve the five year maximum.”
“Although that is an awful long time, that is the sentence I will impose.”
Last year, DeBois pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the number of women he’d had sex with inside south suburban Markham’s police station but denied he raped a 21-year-old prisoner there in September, 2010.
In return, prosecutors dropped a more serious charge centered on the rape, but continued to argue during a two-day sentencing hearing that the sexual assault should be held against DeBois.
DeBois was “the worst of the worst,” who used his position of power to threaten his victim and coerce her into sex, Assistant U.S. Attorney April Perry said Wednesday.
Lefkow agreed, saying that although there was no overt violence, it was more likely than not DeBois’ acts met the legal standard of rape.
“You were clothed in the raiments of office and through that had considerable power,” the judge said. “The thought that you could exploit this woman as you did is revolting.”
A downcast DeBois had earlier apologized to the judge, the FBI, federal prosecutors, his family and Markham’s residents for lying in an interview with the FBI, telling the court “I let myself down.”
But he made no mention of the rape, and showed little emotion as the sentence was imposed, though several relatives in the courtroom sobbed.
Outside court, his attorney, Terry Ekl, said he “strongly disagreed” with the judge’s finding that DeBois had committed rape but added that DeBois’ options on appeal were limited.
Had DeBois been directly convicted of the sexual assault, he might have faced a sentence of 25 years to life, he added.
Prosecutors said DeBois’ victim was brought to the station with a male associate who was arrested at a gas station on counterfeiting charges. She was locked in a holding cell for about half an hour when an officer brought her to DeBois’ office, prosecutors said.
DeBois told the woman she “was in a lot of trouble” and ordered her to have oral sex and intercourse with him, evidence showed. She was released afterward.
Ekl previously argued that the victim’s actions after the alleged rape — she sent DeBois text messages calling him “Baby” — showed she was an unreliable witness.
But Perry pointed to the mounting pile of lawsuits accusing DeBois of brutality while on the job in Markham and its neighboring suburb, Harvey, accusing the defense of blaming the victim.
“This was a rape by the deputy chief of a police department,” she said. “This was an extremely serious offense . . . it jeopardizes society’s trust in law enforcement.”