PAXTON, Ill. (WCIA) — A Gibson City man will spend the next 35 years in prison after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl.

Nicolas Thurman, 48, was sentenced on Monday two months after his January conviction on a charge of predatory criminal sexual assault. He will be required to serve 85% of his sentence and was also ordered to pay $5,000 in fines and $2,000 in public defender fees.

Ford County State’s Attorney Andrew Killian asked Judge Matthew Fitton for a 48-year sentence out of the maximum of 60 years, stressing the need to impose a sentence that would deter others from committing a similar offense.

“There is nothing we can do here today that will make Mr. Thurman’s victim whole or take away the memories and effects his actions have had and will continue to have on her moving forward,” Killian said at the sentencing hearing. “However, we can try to deter others from committing these offenses against children.”

Thurman’s defense attorney, Harvey Welch, in turn, argued that the circumstances of the offense supported a sentence in the lower range of the possible terms. Welch also communicated to the court before Fitton imposed his sentence that Thurman continued to maintain his innocence.

In sentencing Thurman to 35 years in prison, Fitton noted that there are unseen injuries that Thurman’s victim will have to cope with for the rest of her life and that Thurman, in committing the assault, had taken advantage of the trust of the victim’s family had given him.

In addition to the case of sexual assault he was sentenced on, Thurman is facing a charge of attempted predatory criminal sexual assault involving a different victim. Killian indicated that the trial would take place in April.