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Crime & Courts

Sycamore man found guilty of raping girl, 13

SYCAMORE – A jury deliberated for about 90 minutes Wednesday before convicting a 43-year-old Sycamore man on 14 sex charges involving a 13-year-old girl he impregnated.

Mark A. Tate, of the 1200 block of Commercial Street in Sycamore, faces more than 100 years in prison for raping the girl multiple times between Sept. 2, 2009, and May 31, 2010.

His sentencing hearing is set for May 10.

Tate was charged after it was discovered July 30, 2010, that the girl was six months pregnant. An investigation gave police probable cause to believe Tate was the baby’s father, which later was supported by DNA evidence.

DeKalb County Assistant State’s Attorney Stephanie Klein said she was pleased with the verdict. The victim, now 16, testified Tuesday.

“As always in these kinds of cases, it’s the courage of the victim to come forward that makes the difference,” Klein said.

In an unexpected move Wednesday, Tate took the stand in his own defense. He denied having sex with the girl, suggesting she could have become pregnant by donning clothing with his semen on it.

Defense attorney Robert Nolan said the victim only described one assault in her testimony and could not recall any details about the dozens of others she mentioned.

But Klein argued it wasn’t uncommon for victims of emotionally traumatic crimes to forget details.

“The problem isn’t that she can’t remember,” Klein said. “The problem is that she can’t forget.”

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