Christian school principle sentenced to 12 years in prison for sexually abusing student for years

An Illinois Christian school principle and church deacon has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for sexually assaulting a former student, Vermilion County First reported.

Former First Baptist Church of Danville school principal and church deacon Robert Lazzell pleaded guilty to criminal sexual assault. The victim, Michael Young, is now 26-years-old.

Speaking before the sentencing, Young said Lazzell began grooming him when he was in 8th grade and continued to contact him into his college years. Young accused Lazzell of “grooming, abuse, and sexual assault, and threats and bribery and efforts to isolate him from his family.”

Lazzell’s lawyers tried to argue that a psychological exam of Lazzell showed that he was low risk for reoffending, but Associate Judge Derek J. Girton said the evidence, testimony, and the pattern of behavior warranted the harsh sentence.

One witness who spoke at the hearing said “when your entire world is weaponized against you as a child, you don’t have a chance.”

“You’re easy prey; you’re an easy target. And I appreciated that judge taking all that into consideration, and giving him what I thought was fair sentence,” witness Kate Gibson said.

“When you’re a kid in that situation, it doesn’t matter what you think or how you feel; you don’t get to have boundaries with the adults.  The adults tell you what the boundaries are.  And I think we saw today the ramifications of a system like that; that does not put checks and balances on the people in power,” Gibson added.

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Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.