Naperville man sentenced for hiding AWOL Marine pal

A Naperville man has been placed on court supervision and ordered to perform community service work, for hiding a U.S. Marine Corps deserter last fall in the attic of his home.

Daniel G. Vermette, 24, pleaded guilty in Will County Circuit Court in Joliet to a reduced, misdemeanor charge of resisting a peace officer, according to court records.

Associate Judge Domenica A. Osterberger accepted Vermette’s plea and ordered him to perform 100 hours of public service work as part of his penalty, records show. Osterberger on March 11 also placed Vermette on a year of court supervision, records indicated.

Vermette, a former Marine, is a friend of Jeremiah Rivera, 21, most recently of Conway, S.C. A Marine Corps spokesman last year said Rivera had gone “absent without leave,” or AWOL, from his military service.

Marine Corps officials knew of the friendship between the two men, and asked Naperville police last fall to look for Rivera and take him into custody should they find him. Police, armed with a search warrant, went about 5:25 p.m. Oct. 7 to Vermette’s home on the 3500 block of Sheehan Drive, in the Windridge area in the far west-central part of town.

Police Cmdr. Lou Cammiso in October said Vermette met police at his front door and “lied to the officers,” telling them Rivera was not there. Cammiso said the officers entered the home “and ultimately discovered Rivera hiding up in the attic,” located above the attached garage.

Vermette was initially charged with obstruction of justice, a misdemeanor.

Following The Sun’s report on the incident, Vermette told a Chicago television station he had simply been trying to help a longtime friend. Vermette, during that interview, said both he and Rivera had suffered from mental issues and a lack of treatment for them.

“I kept telling him ‘Hey, let’s go to the VA. Let’s get you some help,’” Vermette told the station. “But (Rivera) was afraid to really address his issues, which is, unfortunately, what happened to me, too.”

Rivera was held for a time in DuPage County Jail in Wheaton on a charge of military desertion, and was later released into the custody of the Marine Corps. What has happened to him since then was not immediately known.