Equality man convicted of 254 sexual assault charges, victim is developmentally disabled

Equality, IL man convicted on more than 200 sex assault charges

SALINE COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - A Saline County jury convicted an Equality man on 254 sexual assault charges.

According to State's Attorney Michael Henshaw, Ronald Yarber, 49, was convicted of 238 counts of Criminal Sexual Assault and 16 counts of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a child.

The difference between the two charges is based on the age of the victim during the abuse.

Assistant State's Attorney Eva Walker prosecuted the case.

Henshaw said the victim is now 24 years old. The victim related to Yarber.

"They raised her in the home from the age of 7 or 8 until she was 20," Walker said.

Walker wants to send a message to sexual predators in Saline County.

"If you're going to commit these type of offenses or even thinking about it – think again. You're going to be held accountable," Walker said.

Walker takes these cases personally.

She's been practicing law in Saline County since 1995.

Henshaw says she's a force to be reckoned with when it comes to prosecuting sexual abuse cases.

"She's never lost a jury case in this county. I'm very proud of her," Henshaw said.

Now she can add one more with Yarber's conviction.

Henshaw says the number may be the largest successful conviction in the state.

"I don't know of any other case that even comes close to this," Henshaw said.

Walker said the victim in this case was afraid to come forward until last year.

It took her four years after the abuse stopped to call authorities.

"The defendant told her – If she told no one would believe her because she was mentally disabled," Walker said.

Walker says the reason she came forward is because the victim worried other children in the home would face the same abuse.

There are no other known victims at this time, and all children were removed from the home.

Walker says when the victim heard about the conviction she was relieved.

"The victim's words were I am finally free," Walker said.

Walker says charges may be brought against Yarber's wife.

She said during the trail evidence came to light that she allegedly tried to sabotage the investigation.

Yarber could also face charges in Gallatin County for abuse against the same victim.

The sentence for each count of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child carries a sentencing range of six to 30 years.

The Criminal Sexual Assault charge carries a sentence of four to 15 years for each count.

Yarber faces a minimum sentence of 1,112 years in prison.

He will be sentenced September 1.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2016 KFVS. All rights reserved.