Bethalto man pleads guilty to sexually assaulting 3 minors

A 45-year-old man has admitted to sexually assaulting three minors in his Bethalto home, starting eight years ago.

Eric B. Rusk was charged on May 12, 2017, with three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to all three of the charges — one for each of his victims, a news release from State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons’ office stated.

According to the release, a police investigation determined that Rusk had abused three young girls in his Bethalto home beginning in 2011. All of the victims were under age 13 at the time of the assault.

The plea agreement was reached after consultation with the victims and their families.

“In cases of sexual assault, it is required that children testify at trial, which can often be difficult for young victims,” the news release stated. “This plea sends the defendant to prison for a substantial period of time.”

Rusk must serve 85 percent of a 21-year prison sentence in the Illinois Department of Corrections. He will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Hana Muslic has been a public safety reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018, covering everything from crime and courts to accidents, fires and natural disasters. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.