Judge notes ‘considerable reluctance’ as Raad gets felony conviction, 24 months probation for electronic harassment


Giorgio Raad accepted a a plea in Adams County Circuit Court Monday morning. — MRN file photo

QUINCY — The family of a 13-year-old girl who received pictures of an 18-year-old man’s penis agreed Monday to support a plea deal struck by the Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office.

However, the victim’s father didn’t sound overly pleased when he read a victim impact statement.

Neither did Judge Tad Brenner.

Giorgio Raad, now 19, appeared in Adams County Circuit Court Monday morning with his attorney Drew Schnack before Brenner. Raad agreed to plead guilty to a charge of electronic harassment, a Class 4 felony. He was eligible for a sentence between one and three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, but he received 24 months probation. Nothing of a sexual nature is included in the guilty plea, and Raad does not have to register as a sex offender.

Charging documents alleged Raad used the internet on Sept. 23, 2023, to send pictures of his sex organs and multiple text messages of a sexual nature to a 13-year-old female victim.

The victim’s father read the lone impact statement and suggested other victims could have stepped forward, but their families chose not to.

“We agreed to this plea deal because of the one thing (Schnack) stated last week,” the victim’s father said. “Nobody wants to see 13- and 14-year-olds being put on the stand to testify and having to relive that entire night of sexual messages and pictures from you. Now these children won’t have to talk about and explain seeing those vulgar text messages and pictures of your exposed genitals, as well as being torn apart and victim-shamed by your attorney. 

“You should have been a registered sex offender, but you got away with that one. Don’t think this felony is something to laugh about. This is going to follow you around for the rest of your life. When you and your family and all of your money go to the governor’s office to try to have it expunged or apply for a pardon, I will be there waiting with my victim impact statement, just like I did at your University of Illinois disciplinary hearing. I will do everything in my power to make sure that felony sticks with you for the rest of your life.”

After last week’s hearing, Schnack said during Raad’s Snapchat exchange with the victim that some pictures he had received “may or may not” have been appropriate.

After the father made his remarks, Brenner said he had recently handed down a much harsher sentence in what he called a similar case, referring to the 12-year sentence he gave to 22-year-old Isaiah Mikkelson, a former youth leader at Hope Lutheran Church in Quincy, in December.

Raad had made no physical contact with the victim in this case, and Mikkelson made physical contact with the minor victims in his case. Mikkelson pled guilty to two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse with a person under the age of 18 on Sept. 26.

“That case (Mikkelson) was considerably harsher than what is being proposed here,” Brenner said. “Is this negotiation fully with the consent of the victim and her family?”

“It is, your honor,” Assistant State’s Attorney Laura Keck said. “We did meet with them about this, and we met with them before we discussed it with Mr. Schnack. Then (Assistant State’s Attorney Josh) Jones met with them again and later that same morning to explain what we talked to Mr. Schnack about, and we talked to them about this last week over the phone. There were multiple other considerations in this case, including, your honor, not having to have the victim and other children similar in age to her have to testify.

“I will also say while I do think that we could have gotten a guilty verdict, Mr. Jones and I both recognize that we could have had certain issues with a jury. We believe this was the best negotiation for this case.”

When asked by the judge if he wanted to make a statement, Raad said, “No, thank you.”

“With considerable reluctance, the court does concur with the negotiation,” Brenner said.

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