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Bethalto man sentenced for serial sexual abuse involving children

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Jason Ehlers

Jason Ehlers

EDWARDSVILLE, IL (KTVI) – A 38-year-old Bethalto man was sentenced Wednesday to 35 years in prison after admitting to sexually abusing children over a three-year period, the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office said.

According to prosecutors, Jason Ehlers was charged in April 2014 on multiple counts of sexual abuse involving eight victims. In December 2015, Ehlers pleaded guilty to one count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, one count of criminal sexual assault, three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, one count of sexual exploitation of a child, and two counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

Ehlers was a teacher in the Triad School District at the time of his arrest; he was a former teacher in the Bethalto School District. He resigned shortly from the Triad district shortly after charges were filed. Investigators with the Bethalto Police Department determined that no current or former students of Ehlers were among his victims.

All of the victims were abused inside Ehlers’ home, prosecutors said, and the victims knew Ehlers prior to their abuse, which occurred between 2011 and 2014. Prosecutors said they will disclose any additional information on the victims in order to protect their privacy.

Ehlers was sentenced to 20 years for the predatory criminal sexual assault charge and 15 years for criminal sexual assault. Those sentences will be served consecutively. Prosecutors said Ehlers must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence before being considered for parole. He was sentenced to seven years for each of the three aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges, three years on the sexual exploitation charge, and 364 days on the remaining two sexual exploitation charges. Those sentences will run concurrently.