West Aurora sex abuse investigation ends without arrests

May 22, 2013 (CHICAGO)

School district employees were accused of not telling the Department of Children and Family Services about allegations of abuse.

It's been one year since former band director Stephen Orland pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual abuse against two female students at West Aurora High School. Wednesday, the Kane County State's Attorney's office determined that at least 10 school district employees violated state law by failing to report what they knew.

"Whether or not a mandated reporter notifies his supervisor of his or her observations, it does not relieve them of legal obligation to report to DCFS," said Kane County State's Attorney Joseph McMahon.

Despite the failure, the state's attorney says no charges will be filed. As a Class A misdemeanor, it's unlikely any of those responsible would serve any jail time. Instead, the state's attorney has entered into an agreement with the school district that requires all employees be trained to understand their obligations to report suspected abuse cases to the state.

"This holds a much greater number of individuals accountable for a much greater period of time," McMahon said.

Among those 10 people investigated is Leon Smith, a retired janitor who in 2010 witnessed the former band teacher engaging in what he thought was suspicious behavior with another student. Smith reported what he saw to his supervisor, but not to DCFS.

"Maybe I was wrong. I didn't know I was supposed to call them," said Smith. "I had no knowledge of that."

In a statement released Wednesday, West Aurora School District 129 agrees to the state's attorney's training requirements, and says in part:

"As the District moves forward, the Board will remain dedicated to ensuring that child safety remains a top priority in District 129."

The school district has five years to comply with the agreement. If they don't, those people who failed to report to DCFS could still be prosecuted.

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