A Lake County judge sentenced an 85-year-old man to seven years in prison Thursday for molesting a 14-year-old girl.
When George Todd is transferred from the county jail to state prison in the next few days, officials said he will become the oldest man ever to enter the system.
"Strangely, because you are 85 years old, I do not know if you are physically able to serve any sentence," Associate Judge Daniel Shanes said. "Any sentence I impose may be longer than you have."
Todd, of the 28000 block of Roberts Road near Barrington, pleaded guilty in June to criminal sexual assault and faced a mandatory sentence of between four and 15 years.
A 14-year-old girl who worked for Todd at the show horse business he ran at his residence told police Todd molested her several times in June and August of last year.
Investigators from the Lake County sheriff's office tape-recorded a conversation between Todd and the girl in which he discussed the sex acts and acknowledged he knew she was 14.
Todd was arrested immediately after the conversation and admitted what he had done to the girl.
Assistant State's Attorney Marykay Foy asked Shanes to not place too much emphasis on Todd's age and to consider the victim in the case.
Foy quoted from a statement prepared for the court by the girl's mother.
"It is sad that it is the end of his life," Foy said the statement read. "But this child will have this with her for the rest of hers."
Defense attorney David Kerstein asked Shanes to be lenient and said his client suffers from heart problems, arthritis and other medical conditions.
"It is only a wish and a prayer that he will survive the minimum sentence," Kerstein said. "Anything beyond that is pushing it to a death sentence."
In his own statement to the court, Todd asked to be sent to a facility where prisoners are given sex offender counseling.
"The only thing I can say is how sorry I am that this happened," Todd said. "I have no idea why, but I know it will never happen again.
Sharyn Elman, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections, said that before Todd's sentencing the oldest man sent to prison was a Macon County sex offender who was 80 years old when he entered the system in 2004.
Many elderly inmates are housed in the Dixon prison, Elman said, near infirmaries in other facilities so they have quick access to medical care.
Shanes told Todd he will have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole, and he will get credit against the seven years for the time he has served in custody since his Aug. 21, 2009, arrest.
Before he left the courtroom, Todd told Shanes he has no plans to appeal the sentence.