Former Glenbard West Football Star Guilty of Rape

Judge says running back DeMarco Whitley raped 15-year-old classmate an hour before suffering critical injuries in car crash

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Judge says running back DeMarco Whitley raped 15-year-old classmate an hour before suffering critical injuries in car crash. (Published Thursday, Oct 13, 2011)

    A former high school football player faces up to 60 years in prison after being convicted Thursday of raping a teen in a Rolling Meadows church parking lot last year.

    DeMarco Whitley was found guilty of four of five counts of criminal sexual assault after the bench trial.

    "There's no doubt in my mind sex occurred, and no doubt in my mind it occurred the way the victim said it did," said Judge Thomas Fecarotta before rendering his verdict.

    Whitley testified Wednesday that sex did take place, but that it was consensual. Fecoratta responded Thursday by saying he found Whitley's testimony "not only unbelievable but poorly contrived."

    But his defense attorney chalked Whitley's performance on the stand to being a scared young man.

    "I think we have to remember that DeMarco Whitley is a teenager. DeMarco Whitley is not an adult. DeMarco Whitley has never been on a witness stand in the past, and I think that the situation for him was tough. I think that you could see -- even months after dealing with this case -- the way he was nervous and scared," said attorney Donna Rotunno.

    Asst. State's Attorney Maria McCarthy said she believed there was "overwhelming evidence" of Whitley's guilt.

    "It took a lot of courage for [the victim] to come into a public courtrool full of people and to testify to excruciating details about the most traumatic event she'll ever experience in her life. And she is the reason that this was a guilty finding."

    Shortly after the Jan. 29, 2010 attack, Whitley was involved in a car crash which killed his friend and fellow football star Pierre Washington-Steel, who was also accused of participating in the rape.

    Whitley suffered injuries in the crash which kept him hospitalized for two months. He was arrested almost a year after the crash because prosecutors were waiting for the results of a DNA test.

    He pleaded not guilty in March and up until the trial was out on a $50,000 bond. That bond was revoked Thursday and Whitley was taken into custody.

    Each guilty count carries a sentence of between four and 15 years. He must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence, which is scheduled to be handed down on Nov. 1.