The court heard three victim impact statements Thursday before the judge sentenced an Illinois man to three years in prison for obscene performance charges involving two children.

Joseph T. Savarino Jr., 42, Boubonnais, Ill., appeared in front of Kosciusko Superior Court I Judge David Cates and was sentenced to three years in the Indiana Department of Corrections, with one year suspended to probation, for two level 6 felony charges of obscene performance.

According to the probable cause affidavit, on Nov. 27 Boubonnais police spoke with two female children who said they had been touched inappropriately by Savarino while staying in a hotel room in Warsaw between Aug. 31 and Sept. 2, 2018.

The children told police they slept in the same bed as Savarino in the hotel and that he slept in the middle of them. During the night, Savarino “touched her breast and vagina under her clothing and … he knew what he was doing because he was looking at her like a crazy person.” The girl told police this happened for about an hour, and that when she got home, she told her mother. The other girl told police the same thing happened to her in the hotel room bed and “it did not feel good,” court papers state.

When police spoke with Savarino, he told police he did stay in a hotel room and in the same bed with the girls, however, “he advised he thought (minor girl) was having a dream and that one time she was lying on top of him. He believes that (the girls) are telling the truth, if they are accusing someone else, but not if they are accusing him.”

On Thursday, the victims’ mother gave a victim impact statement and told the judge how the actions of Savarino - a family member - has devastated her entire family.

“I loved him as a brother, and he was the favorite (relative), and one of the only positive male role models in their life,” she said. “I have been surprised as the reaction of some to take the side of the adult.”

She continued to talk about how members of her family have had to choose “sides” and how family functions are no longer the same. She told Cates how she had to report this crime to several different agencies and that she is thankful that it is finally being handled in court.

“I am now raising children who have trouble separating from me, fear of bathing, fear of sleeping alone. They live in constant fear that someone is going to harm our family. Our family will never be the same,” she said. “My daughters have been viewed as liars by some family members.

“It is my hope at some time he can face his troubles. I hope that some type of reconciliation can take place. Someday my daughters hope for a sincere apology,” she said.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brad Voelz read two victim impact statements from the girls, who were present and crying during Thursday’s sentencing.

“I was scared, worried and confused when my (relative) hurt me. I’m tired of people not believing me. I feel like this is my fault because I told. I feel mad and mostly sad. I feel like I can’t trust my own family,” Voelz read. The girl also stated that hotels and Indiana cause her grief.

“I was scared and now I’m scared someone is going to hurt my family. (Another relative) doesn’t like us anymore, and I miss her dogs,” Voelz read from the second statement.

Savarino’s attorney, Doug Lemon, told the judge his client has no criminal history and would respond well to probation. When Cates gave Savarino a chance to speak, Savarino said, “I do want to repair the relationships in the family, and honestly we have not had a chance to get together and talk to understand fully what has happened.”

Cates asked him if there was anything else he’d like to say. Savarino said no.

Cates told Savarino that it does appear Savarino has led a law-abiding life.

“There were kids here who you had a level of trust (with),” Cates said. “This wasn’t a mistake. This was a choice you made. This is all on you.”

Upon Savarino’s release from prison, he must register as a sex offender and seek treatment from a mental health facility. Savarino was remanded to the custody of the sheriff.