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Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017 12:08 am

Six-plus years for UIS rapist

“I’m afraid of him”

Xuesong “Gary” Yang is led away in handcuffs after being sentenced to prison for raping a UIS student. At the right stand Springfield police officers who investigated the case.
PHOTO BY BRUCE RUSHTON

 

Xuesong “Gary” Yang, a former University of Illinois Springfield counselor and recruiter who pleaded guilty to raping a student on her 17th birthday, broke down in tears Tuesday before being sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison.

His son, a recent Glenwood High School graduate and musician, didn’t want him present during a piano recital, Yang told Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Leslie Graves. He talked about driving his 12-year-old daughter, a figure skater, to the ice rink each morning at 4 a.m. His mother is elderly, and he fears that he won’t be by her side “when the day comes.” He said that he accepts responsibility for the rape.

“I have always struggled to do good for others,” said a man who didn’t plead guilty until a DNA test confirmed that he’d raped a student who barely spoke English the day after she arrived in the United States from China a year ago. “In the end, I betrayed myself and failed miserably. I pray to God to deliver me from evil.”

Graves delivered Yang to prison, handing down a sentence six months short of the maximum for aggravated sexual abuse and obstruction of justice, the latter charge stemming from the defendant attempting to scratch marks from his chest in a police interview room – the victim, who came to UIS to learn English, had told detectives that she’d bitten him while being assaulted. Yang was hired by UIS to recruit students from China.

“Mr. Yang is every parent’s nightmare,” Graves said.

Unlike her rapist, the victim, who returned to China in June, appeared stoic during a 10-minute videotaped statement. She said that Yang should be given the maximum sentence. In halting English, she said that her life will never be the same.

“I see the psychologist because I hurt myself – like, use a knife and hurt myself, because I feel so painful, and I don’t know how to figure it out,” said the woman, who appears younger than her age. “But, when she (the psychologist) help me, she need to talk about…things. I don’t want to remember that, so I stopped seeing the counseling.”

Yang raped the woman twice in his downtown Springfield office, once the day after she arrived in the United States, the second time a week later. The woman didn’t tell anyone what had happened until the second time she was assaulted, when she told someone in her dorm. Eventually, she said, she told her father, who advised her not to tell her mother, her grandparents or anyone else what Yang had done.

“I don’t talk to him (my father) when it happens first time because I think he will feel angry and I don’t know what he will do for that,” the woman said. “So I just try to hang out by myself. I don’t know any people in United States. I don’t have any friends here. I just come here alone. So, when this thing happens, I feel very upset because no one can help me.”

The woman said that she would like to return to UIS, but she will continue her education elsewhere. There are too many bad memories in Springfield, she said, and students talk about her in unkind ways.

“They know it’s not my fault, but they still will say, ‘It’s your fault,’” the woman said. “Lots of people will say very, very bad things to me, like ‘Oh, you have a relationship with a professor.’ … They know this is a sexual assault case, but still say that. They just regard things as a joke. Just a joke. It’s very hard to me.”

Even now, the woman said that she fears Yang.

“Lots of students’ parents is friends of Gary Yang, so maybe they will do something like talk behind you,” the woman said. “I’m afraid if he come out (of prison) like seven years – no, three years – he will do something to my family and me. I’m afraid of him, because he still has lots of friends in China. He can, and he have, the ability to do that.”

Yang, 54, will be eligible for release after completing half his sentence if he behaves himself in prison.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.

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