ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A Kane County judge Thursday decided he had delivered too harsh a sentence to Cathleen Koch for her role in her then-boyfriend’s 2010 attack on her daughter in a St. Charles motel.
Judge Timothy Q. Sheldon granted a defense motion to reconsider the sentence, and he cut it in half. Koch, 30, now faces a four-year sentence after pleading guilty to 13 counts, including aggravated domestic battery, for not stopping the attack carried out by James C. Cooper. Koch was not accused of participating in the beating.
The beating left Koch’s daughter, Molly, now nearly 4 years old, with severe injuries. A doctor testified at the sentencing hearing that Molly never will live independently. Cooper was convicted of punching Molly 10 times and slamming her face into a bed.
Koch appeared Thursday in court at the Kane County Judicial Center. She was clad in the orange outfit of an inmate at the Kane County Jail.
Sheldon made clear he thought prosecutors “did an exemplary job” in the sentencing hearing. Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Cullen had asked for 10 to 14 years. Defense attorney Liz Lovig had asked for probation.
Sheldon said Molly Koch will have to live with her injuries for the rest of her life. But he said Cathleen Koch had taken positive steps since then.
“I grant your motion,” Sheldon said.
Cullen argued Thursday that the sentence should not have been changed. Koch had been sentenced to eight years in prison. Cullen said Koch all but handed her daughter to Cooper.
“You articulated your findings well at the sentencing hearing,” Cullen said to Sheldon. “We believe you should not reconsider her sentence. It was appropriate.”
Lovig argued that Koch was a victim of domestic violence, and Koch was afraid of Cooper. She said Koch had called 911 and administered CPR in an attempt to save Molly. Lovig said that Cooper’s attack “happened within a matter of seconds.”
Lovig said Koch had no prior criminal record. She stressed Koch was still eligible for probation, but if Sheldon still felt prison was necessary, the sentence should be reduced to four years. Koch must serve at least 85 percent of her sentence, which would be more than three years.
Outside of the courtroom after the hearing, Cathleen Koch’s mother, Carrie Johnson, said her daughter had been improving her life in recent months before she was sentenced, and Koch had a “fantastic job.” Johnson said the only thing Koch really was guilty of was “picking bad men in her life.” Johnson said she doubted Koch would get the help she needs in prison.
“I’m a grandma,” Johnson said. “I’m a mom. I want her to get help. Do I think jail is going to help her? Probably not.”
Lovig said she hoped that the parties involved would focus on what they can do to help Molly Koch.
“I would like to see them all work together to make Molly’s life the best it can be,” Lovig said.