Belleville police were worried over Larry Alverson’s release from prison

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BELLEVILLE, IL (KPLR) – An Illinois man facing charges for repeatedly molesting a South St. Louis County girl is jailed in Clayton, but many are wondering why he was on the streets at all when the attack happened.  He had been given a prison sentence of two and a half years only four months earlier.

Larry Alverson has a long criminal record in St. Clair County.  Nearly every offense, according to police, had some sort of sexual element to it.

Alverson most recently had been convicted of criminal trespassing in Belleville. The original charges of burglary and unlawful restraint were dropped in return for his guilty plea to the trespassing charge and accepting 30 months in prison.  So, if he was sentenced in February of 2015, how did he walk out of prison in June?

Illinois corrections officials say he got out early for his good behavior.  A corrections spokesperson says Alverson was eligible for “day -for-day good time credit.”  In Illinois you get a day reduced off the time you have to serve for every day you stay out of trouble while incarcerated.  Alverson got credit for the time he spent in the county jail awaiting trial, then was allowed to get out after only fifteen months total due to good behavior.

Belleville Police say they knew Alverson was trouble from his past.  They tell us they issued an internal memo when he got out of prison in June, then launched a furious search for him after he escaped home incarceration two weeks later.  As all this went on, they knew full service of his sentence would have had him behind bars instead of allegedly attacking a child.

“It’s certainly a tragedy,” Belleville Police Detective Sergeant Mark Heffernan said, “and I’m not here to point fingers at various aspects of the criminal justice system.  It’s obvious there’s a breakdown that this individual is now sitting in jail after offending again.”

Family members of previous victims feel the same way.  The son in law of a woman who had Alverson break into her home and try to rape her in the 1990’s couldn’t believe he was back on the street.

“Why? Why?  That’s my biggest question.  Just why,” asked the man, who did not want to give his name.  “He keeps getting released, it’s like a slap on the wrist and he’s right back out doing stuff again.  Sooner or later he’s gonna commit murder.”

Alverson has also never appeared on any sex offender registry.  St. Clair State’s Attorney Brendan Kelley has only presided over one of Alverson’s cases, and the Unlawful Restraint charge where he refused to let a 16 year old out of her bedroom was changed to Criminal Trespass.  Kelly says in that case, the change in plea gave his office a better chance to put Alverson in prison for a longer time. He suspects that was the same reasoning in cases he did not handle back in the late 1990’s when two Criminal Sexual Abuse charges and a Battery charge were dismissed in favor of residential burglary counts.