- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 9, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A former University of Illinois-Springfield employee accused of raping a 17-year-old Chinese exchange student has been sentenced to more than six years in prison.

Xuesong “Gary” Yang, 54, who was involved in the school’s foreign-exchange program, pleaded guilty in June to aggravated criminal sexual abuse and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced Tuesday, the Springfield Journal-Register reported .

Yang helped the girl in August 2016 relocate from China to the central Illinois campus, where she planned to take classes. Investigators allege Yang invited the girl to his office the day after she arrived, on her 17th birthday, and forced her to drink alcohol.

The teen passed out, and Yang sexually abused her, according to Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Milhiser. Yang called the victim days later and threatened to send her back to China if she didn’t engage in sex with him again, Milhiser said.

Yang was arrested after the victim told another student she’d been raped.

“She is still suffering emotional damage done at the hands of the defendant,” the prosecutor said during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.

Yang asked Judge Leslie Graves for mercy and repeatedly told the judge he was sorry, calling his actions an “unspeakable offense.” His lawyer had asked for probation, noting Yang had no prior criminal history, was remorseful and complied with terms of his release.

But the judge responded by calling Yang a “predator” who took advantage of a teenager with no one else to turn to. Graves said she appreciated Yang’s remorse, but said she thought most of his comments centered on how the actions affected him and not the victim.

Mr. Yang is every parent’s nightmare,” the judge said. “I can’t imagine what she went through.”

The victim was in China during the sentencing hearing, but she sent a video explaining that she was still afraid to return to the university and believes Yang will retaliate against her and her family.

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Information from: The State Journal-Register, http://www.sj-r.com

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