Judge Joseph P. Condon then handed down a 24-year prison term for Raymond Kasper, who was convicted in July of predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse — even though the girl denied from the witness stand that the crimes took place.
But Kasper indicated his belief that the family connection played a role in his conviction.
"You cannot choose the family you are born into," Kasper said. He added that his own children never knew about the family's ties to Gacy until his trial. "I tried to protect them from that."
Kasper's trial jury was not told of his relationship to Gacy, but the connection was widely reported in the news media.
Kasper, 49, of Marengo, was arrested last year amid accusations that he assaulted the girl multiple times in her Algonquin home between June and October 2011. Though the girl said from the witness stand that she might have dreamed the abuse, prosecutors indicated that the girl had been pressured to recant her claims. A doctor who examined her also testified that the girl bore wounds consistent with sexual abuse.
Assistant State's Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein argued Thursday that Kasper still was "not taking any responsibility for his actions or what he did to the victim. He believes he's the victim."
Kasper's attorney Catharine O'Daniel argued that he deserves a new trial, in part because the girl recanted. The judge denied that, but O'Daniel said she would immediately appeal the conviction.
Several of Kasper's relatives were there to support him and vowed to fight for his freedom. His lawyers have said he has health problems and suffered a heart attack while in jail awaiting his sentencing.
"It's about him," said Kasper's son Steve, 24. "He's not Gacy's nephew. He's Raymond Kasper."