After a gut-wrenching victim’s impact statement by Gregory Pyle’ ex-wife, the former McHenry County Sheriff’s Sergent was sentenced to fifty years in prison Wednesday by Federal Judge Frederick Kapala.
Pyle had asked for a sentence of thirty-five years.
He is now thirty-nine.
A minimum sentence of thirty years was mandatory.
The ex-wife, who did not reveal her name while testifying in open court, was accompanied by a friend to the podium.
Before that, however, the Judge asked if she wanted to testify in private in a conference room. She said she preferred to speak in the courtroom.
The Judge asked if she would like some water. She said she would and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Love brought her a glass.
“I’d rather not give my name,” she replied to Judge Kapala when asked. He allowed that.
She introduced herself as the mother of the boy “who was sexually abused by Greg Pyle.”
With Pyle sitting shackled in an orange jump suit from the Stephenson County Jail, his ex-wife told of the feelings that were with her “each and every day” and “how much this has changed” her life and the lives of her children, how “Dad has abused his children.”
She told of how Pyle was “my [oldest] son’s camp counselor” when she was a single mother.
Pyle was “someone you could trust,” she thought at the time, but now wonders if he deliberately picked her sensing her vulnerability.
“I feel he picked me with a ten-year old child.
“He is a master manipulator.”
She told of being verbally abused “the whole time we were married.”
So was her oldest son, now in the Armed Forces.
“I stopped believing in him.”
Nevertheless they had a son, the one who ended up being sexually abused.
After four years in the military, where he performed well enough to get letters entered into the court record from two superior officers, the couple had another baby, another boy.
Then she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
She thought that was the worst day of her life.
“Nothing compared to what my son was going through.”
She told of trying “to live with the guilt…the failure as a mother.”
When her middle son when off with his father, “I thought he would be having fun. I thought he would have been having so much fun with his Dad.”
“My biggest regret was trusting Greg.”
She told of Pyle’s “sadistic” acts.
“I can only imagine how scared my son was,” she explained, telling of “giving oral sex, having anal sex with him.”
She told of laying on the bathroom floor the day she discovered the abuse.
“I wanted to die because the pain was so unbearable.
“Two and a half years later, the pain is still unbearable,” she said spreading it throughout the courtroom.
“The pictures [Pyle put on the internet] are etched in my mind…
“The tears still fall.
“I do not trust myself.
“I do not trust other people.
“I have died on the inside.
She told of how her son changed.
Once he was happy.
Now he has lost his Dad.
Now he is “depressed, has no social skills [and she added other negative characteristics I couldn’t keep up with]”.
“He is afraid Greg is coming back.
“He only knows hate and anger.
“He pretends to be strong…
“He just turned sixteen, but inside emotionally he is eight years old.
“He sits in his bedroom alone.
“My other child was six years old when Greg started to groom him.
Now, “nine years old, he still wants a Dad.
“He used to wake up at 6.
“Now he has trouble waking up.
“He has abandonment issues.
“He follows me around.
“He has also lost his childhood.
“He had to lose his home and his very best friends.”
She told of having moved three times since Pyle’s arrest, preventing “a sense of safety and security.”
“He left us to a life of poverty.
“I was a full-time housewife.”
She told of finally finding a therapist who would do it for free, but how they needed treatment more than once a week.
“Another was I fell I’m failing my children.
“My kids are afraid they won’t have food to eat.”
Concluding, she said,
“The sentence doesn’t really matter.
“He gave us a life sentence.
“He made that decision by himself.
“I want you to remember that little boy who said, “No,” and Greg did it anyway.
“We will never be free from his actions.
“That is something we will have to live with all of our lives.”
During the mother’s testimony, Tribune reporter Amanda Marrazzo noted that Pyle “buried his head in his hands and cried.”
Judge Frederick Kapala gave much thought to his 50-year sentence.
One could tell by what he put in the record prior to announcing it.
He was continually referring to the Sentencing Guidelines, which he called “a sufficient starting point.”
“If a sentence is longer than life expectancy it would normally violate” the Guidelines, he said.
Much time spent on Pyle’s life expectancy.
He finally concluded that it was forty-three more years, that he would live until he was eighty-two years old.
With good time of 54 days a year, he could be released when he would be 79.5 years old.
Judge Kapala concluded that a fifty-year sentence “would not be a life sentence and he would not be expected to die in prison.”
The Court cited a case and observed “this case is much more reprehensible than [the other].”
A lack of criminal conduct is a plus when calculating what a sentence should be.
The Judge gave Pyle’s lack of a previous criminal record short shrift.
He noted that “criminal conduct in this case happened for a long period of time” starting in 2008.
The defendant’s behavior was so horrendous that a longer sentence could be justified, Judge Kapala argued.
The Court acknowledged Pyle had “some positive traits, but that didn’t mitigate [what he has cone].”
It wasn’t significant enough to merit [a reduction in sentence], he said, citing “the horrible conduct in this case:
Specifically referred to was Pyle’s military service in the Bosnian War.
A Lt. Col Rittenhaus apparently wrote a letter on Pyle’s behalf.
Judge Kapala observed that on August 22, 2002, Pyle had said that he was being sexually aroused by pornography.
That was the time he was in the Army.
The Judge concluded that Lt. Col. Rittenhaus and the other officer who sent a letter “did not know the real Greg Pyle.”
“I’m certain they would not give the same positive review if they knew the hypocrisy in his life.
“He had a Law and Order persona, while on the other hand he was a horrible [person] who did despicable things to his son.
“Not only did he lie but he [dealt] a heavy blow to those who worked along side him.
The Judge found it “difficult to reconcile” his day job as the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department representative on the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, “while simultaneously leading a life of crime.”
The Court noted that Pyle sought a shorter sentence because of his law enforcement background.
It would be more difficult to serve because Pyle had been in police work was the argument his attorney advanced.
“No authority was cited,” Judge Kapala announced.
He also stated his belief that the Bureau of Prisons “will be able to adequately protect the defendant.”
One of the mitigating factors was acceptance of responsibility for one’s crimes, which Pyle did by pleading guilty.
He also express sorrow in his letter to the Court.
Judge Kapala said that was “outweighed by the seriousness of the offense,” again pointing out that he was taking the Sentencing Guidelines as seriously as is required.
Then he paused for a moment or two.
The Judge referenced the “sorrow and regret” that Pyle had expressed to Licensed.Social Worker Kate Foley.
The Court observed that it is “very difficult” to discern “how much” sincerity was involved] “or merely reflect fear, especially [since] the defendant spent numerous years in a double life.”
He pointed out that defendants who plead guilty “routinely” do this.
One of the points judges must consider is the likelihood of recidivism (recommitting the same or another crime).
The Judge admitted that Pyle had a “low risk of recidivism,” but said, “Nevertheless, a low risk does not mean there is no risk.”
He pointed out that “nothing in the report” says that the defendant will not still have “the perversions” when his term in prison has been served.
Judge Kapala then dealt with the psychological reports in his file.
He pointed to the one Pyle underwent before being hired by the Sheriff’s Office.
It said he “liked to approach tasks by the book.”
He then pointed out that Pyle’s “deviant sexual acts have shown he is not rule bound.”
Pyle’s “deviation indicates these types of reports are not foolproof.
“Even a low risk is of considerable concern given the defendant’s horrific deviant behavior.”
Perhaps in recognition of the risk of re-offense, even at age eighty, the Court imposed lifetime supervision after release from custody.
Judge Kapala basically decried the low number of points taken into account by the Sentencing Guidelines for the “heinous, despicable” account of the crime [against his own son].
“A two point increase is woefully inadequate…[for his] fiendish behavior.”
The “perverted” behavior “ravaged this child in more ways than we can possibly know.
“Strong aggravating factors in this case deserves corresponding long punishment,” he continued.
He talked of Pyle’s job having been to “promote respect for the law [was] directly contradicted by what [he did].
“After he found out [he was being investigated he] decided to hid or destroy all the evidence he [could].”
After erasing his computers, he threw them in a pond. (The FBI was unable to recover any images.)
“His efforts to obstruct justice shows utter disrespect for the law.”
Citing a case dealing with the deterrence effect of jail time, the Judge pointed out, “This case is even worse and deserves an even long sentence [that the one in U.S. v. Goldberg].
“This type of conduct cannot be countenanced in our society.
“…a life sentence is warranted…not down to thirty-five years (the sentence Pyle sought).”
Judge Kapala concluded that a “sentence differing from the Guideline range is appropriate.”
And he imposed a 600 month (fifty year) sentence.
He asked the Bureau of Prisons to provide drug offender, sex offender and mental health treatment while Pyle is incarcerated, along with “supervised release for life.”
Pyle still faces state charges in McHenry County which pre-date the Federal charges.
“We will be prosecuting Pyle on the State charges,” McHenry County State’s Attorney stated Wednesday after the verdict was rendered.
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This may be the longest story I have written. The court hearing certainly affected me more than any other I have attended. I am quite bothered that the mother believes she and her son’s have been sentenced to a lifetime of poverty. (She was a stay-at-home Mom for 18 years.)