A former girls gymnastics coach was sentenced Tuesday in Will County to 96 years in prison for sexually assaulting a teenage gymnast about a decade ago, the Will County state’s attorney’s office said.
Jose Vilchis, 72, of Channahon, was found guilty by a jury of eight counts of criminal sexual assault after a four-day trial in June, the state’s attorney’s office said. Evidence that Vilchis had engaged in sexual crimes against three other teenage girls going back as far as 1997 was also presented to the jury. Two of the girls gave statements at Vilchis’ sentencing hearing, one of whom said she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Vilchis in the 1990s while he was her gymnastics coach.
“Jose Vilchis is a reprehensible sexual predator who calculatingly used his position of trust and authority to take advantage of innocent girls,” Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said. “He repeatedly preyed upon young gymnasts in private under the guise of being a caring coach. I commend these young women for their courage in coming forward and telling their stories. Although nothing can undo the damage he caused, he will spend the rest of his days in a prison cell unable to prey on anyone else.”
The assault for which he was sentenced Tuesday took place in Channahon in 2013 and 2014, according to the state’s attorney’s office, when Vilchis was a coach at I&M Gymnastics.
Vilchis will receive credit for 1,591 days served, the state’s attorney’s office said, for his time already served in the Will County Adult Detention Facility since his arrest in 2018 on the charges stemming from the Channahon facility.
Originally from Mexico, Vilchis became a permanent resident of the U.S. in 1991 and a naturalized citizen in 1997. He competed in the 1968 Summer Olympics for Mexico before coaching at various facilities in the Chicago area including at the Beverly Gymnastics Center in Chicago and the American Academy of Gymnastics in Wheeling.
A lawsuit against Vilchis filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2019 said he lied on his citizenship application, answering “no” to questions about if he had ever “knowingly committed any crime for which you have not been arrested” and if had ever committed or been convicted “of a crime involving moral turpitude.”
The lawsuit also said Vilchis sexually assaulted at least three minor girls, some as young as 12 years old, who he coached as early as 1985.