Sandburg Basketball Coach Accused of Sexually Abusing Student

A Hinsdale man was charged with two counts sexual abuse Tuesday involving a female Carl Sandburg High School student. Authorities said the incident happened outside of school.

Updated 3:02 p.m. with information from the Illinois State Board of Education and DuPage State's Attorney's Office

A Carl Sandburg High School substitute teacher and basketball coach has been accused of inappropriate contact on one occasion with a 17-year-old female student off school grounds, according to authorities.

Steven E. Reynolds, 26, of the 600 block of 55th Street in Hinsdale, was charged with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse, a Class 2 felony.

While the DuPage Sheriff’s Office originally stated in a release that multiple incidents happened over the course of several weeks, the DuPage State’s Attorney’s Office said the charges stem from one incident at Reynolds’ home on Jan. 28, according to a press release Tuesday from the office of DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin.

Berlin's office said the 17-year-old told her friends about the alleged contact, who then told Carl Sandburg school officials. The school immediately contacted the Orland Park Police Department, who then contacted Berlin's office.

Paul Darrah, spokesman for the DuPage State’s Attorney’s Office, could not specify the nature of the accusations.

“The charges are that she's underage and that's all I can address at this point," Darrah said.

The Illinois State Board of Education also has opened an investigation into the matter.

"We are tracking this case and will be following it. We have opened the file to determine whether we will be pursuing suspending or removing [Reynolds'] teaching certificate," said Mary Fergus, a spokeswoman for the ISBE.

Reynolds is certified to teach at the middle school and high school levels, and his teaching certification is up for renewal in July.

Fergus said she would need to do further research to say whether there had been any previous complaints against Reynolds.

"Right now this case is moving through the local level. We don't want to interfere with a criminal investigation," said Fergus.

Consolidated High School District 230 also said the alleged abuse happened outside of the school. The Department of Child and Family Services was notified along with law enforcement, according to a statement from the district.

“I would like to commend the individuals who brought this information to the school’s attention and the swift manner in which the school administration and local authorities addressed this very sensitive situation,” Superintendent James Gay said in the statement.

Reynolds only taught at Carl Sandburg High School, D230 spokeswoman Carla Erdey wrote in an email.

The and the DuPage County Children’s Center assisted with the arrest.

Reynolds’ bail was set at $250,000 Tuesday morning, and he is scheduled to be in court next for an arraignment in front of Judge George Makalis, and is currently held in the DuPage County Jail.

A Class 2 felony is punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison.

Return to Patch for updates as this story develops.

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parent of student February 07, 2012 at 07:25 PM
As a parent of a Carl Sandburg student, the school never sent any notification of this incident to the parents of the students. Who is to say there arent any other students involved with this. I am furious with the school district for not informing parents and learning of this incident on the news/newspaper!!!
Mr. C February 07, 2012 at 08:06 PM
I can't agree more. School officials were more than happy to send everyone and "auto-call" about Southland Tenn Herion use and other "questionable behavior 2 or 3 weeks ago, but not this? Why, not enough "buzz" words.... I guess.
Andrea Williams February 07, 2012 at 08:27 PM
"Darrah could not say whether the charges stem from forced or consensual acts." Isn't the point that minor's don't have the capacity to "consent," thus sexual acts with underage children is considered a crime? What am I missing here?
Ben Feldheim (Editor) February 07, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Andrea you're absolutely right. That was worded to reflect the specific questions that were asked, and we've clarified since. Thanks for pointing that out. We also added some information from the Illinois State Board of Education.
Green Reader February 07, 2012 at 09:20 PM
They probably didn't want to taint the investigation while gathering facts. Not too mention, the article doesn't state when the girl's friends came forward - the fact that it's out there should allow everyone to talk to their children about such issues. You cannot blame the entire school or administration for one individual's actions outside of the school. Let's remember where to place blame.
Student February 07, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Coach reynolds always held the door open for our strength class. He was super chill. I hope these accusations are false, because he's such a respectable and respectful man.
Ben Feldheim (Editor) February 07, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Folks, please leave curses out of the comments. Substituting a symbol for a letter doesn't cut it. Thanks.
Ben Feldheim (Editor) February 07, 2012 at 10:31 PM
And if you don't use a valid email address when you sign up, you won't receive my message with your comment, making it easy for you to repost without the expletives.
Arthur Huff February 07, 2012 at 10:36 PM
I didn't read the article before it was amended but perhaps they were referring to the seriousness of the alleged crime. Forced sexual acts would be more serious than an inappropriate encounter between a 17 year old student and a 25 year old teacher. I'm not saying what he allegedly did isn't wrong, just that there are more serious crimes that could be inferred from "sexual abuse."
Terri February 07, 2012 at 10:57 PM
I agree with Green Reader and stand by the school. We've never had a bad experience with Sandburg and our kids know what to do in the event that someone behaves inappropriately.
Kate February 07, 2012 at 11:50 PM
the article suggests that it was conscented by the student. And the student opened her mouth about it and thats what got him caught. I'm 18 my boyfriend is 25. it sounds bad i guess, but hes not that much older than her. The article says it was multiple occasions.. in his own home. there was nothing about her being harmed. shes 17 years old... If she conscented the sex then i just feel bad that his career is ruined and he will be doing time. PS why do some articles say it was a girl and some say it was a boy? lets get the facts people
iceman63 February 07, 2012 at 11:54 PM
There will probably be an "all call," when the district is sure of all of the details. They have to be careful of how they word things... since it was still alleged and he is an employee of the district.
iceman63 February 08, 2012 at 12:09 AM
You are 18, that makes you an adult. Your boyfriend is 25, he's an adult. The teacher is 26, an adult and the alleged victim is 17, she is not (by the law) an adult ~ and that is why she is considered a victim. Adults are expected to take the adult role. In this instance, whether he is a great guy or a nice teacher doesn't outweigh that he used bad judgement. Yes, it is a shame, if he is the nice person everyone says he is.....but these things happen when adults do not think responsibly.
Ben Feldheim (Editor) February 08, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Kate, the original notice about this said the charges involved multiple occasions, and then the state's attorney's office said that was wrong and there was only one incident the charges are based from. I can't speak for other publications. As to the consent issue, we don't know about that nor do we claim to know one way or the other.
Dee February 08, 2012 at 01:20 AM
I am angry that just because a 17 year old says it happened, everyone is taking it as gospel that it did. We are all still innocent until proven guilty. I want more facts! I am not nieve to assume it couldn't happen. But there's been too many cases where they arrest an innocent person. There's just too many scenarios that could be going on here with no evidence. At least none that i've read in the papers so far. Couldn't any of us be arrested on hearsay? Someone at work wants you out of the picture, so they make up a story? The bond seems high. Is there any other proof? My thoughts and prayers and hugs go to both sides of each family for this will affect them all.
VB February 08, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Thank you Dee. I agree. Before everyone begins the lynching, let the police and DCFS do their job to determine wrong doing; we the public, do not have ALL the necessary information to convict. The main issue here is not necessarily the age of the accuser (see statutes below from the state of Illinois), but that she was a student at the school in which he taught, substitute, coach or otherwise. Sec. 12-15. Criminal sexual abuse. (a) The accused commits criminal sexual abuse if he or she: (1) commits an act of sexual conduct by the use of force or threat of force; or (2) commits an act of sexual conduct and the accused knew that the victim was unable to understand the nature of the act or was unable to give knowing consent. (b) The accused commits criminal sexual abuse if the accused was under 17 years of age and commits an act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct with a victim who was at least 9 years of age but under 17 years of age when the act was committed.
danielson February 08, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Give the guy his day in trial. Nobody knows what happened, so there's no sense in automatically grabbing the torches and pitchforks until people actually know the truth. What we do know, and I'm not condoning what he did (or didn't do), but the age of consent in Illinois is 17, and from the sound of it, this girl willingly went out to his house on at least one occasion. There is no implication of any forced sexual abuse, so it doesn't sound like he raped her or anything. The sad part about it all is that even if he isn't guilty, this is going to ruin this guy's life. If the girl were just a few months older none of this would even be an issue. ___The age of consent in Illinois is 17. It is also illegal for a person to commit sexual acts on a person under the age of 18 if he/she has a position of authority or trust over the victim.____ If he wasn't a teacher at her school, this guy could have legally had sex with her all he wanted. What a crazy world.
bob busch February 08, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Nothing New In the early 60's a Sandburg teacher got involved with a student .But when he came home and found a student in the bath tub with his wife we all wrote it off as beatnik antics nobody liked him anyway.Then in the 90's there was a spot of bother about a soccer coach. Lets not forget the tragic death of a young lady in a car accident a while back involving Sandburg staff. This sort of behavior has been going on since Adam and Eve .Rather than condemn the school we should be grateful for the prompt action taken in all these cases .I was a CPS teacher for 41 years and you should all know if any teacher observes improper sexual behavior, or was made aware of it, must report it to their immediate superior. That is the law.Situations as delicate as this must be handled with kid -gloves.Reputations are at stake as well as legal, moral, and,ethical concerns.Innocent until proven guilty.I also know of cases where teachers were set up by students then were exonerated but the damage to a persons reputation can never be rescinded .Let the law and the school authorities do their job.
Kathie February 08, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I agree, Dee. There was a case a few years ago, school-aged girls said it happened and then said it didn't. The man's career was ruined. You can't un-ring a bell. I hope the 17 yr old girl is getting counseling either way. And I am glad that the high school has opened their doors to other students for support. This whole thing is mind-boggling for me, I can't imagine the students who had Mr. R for a teacher or coach. I have heard only good things about him. And there is a lot of confusion, anger and disbelief from the young men who were working closest with him. IF he exercised poor judgement, he has put him in a bad predicament. I myself hesitate to make a judgement-I have so many questions that popped into my head right away. I hope are answered in the near future. How and to what extent do the two know each other? Was she at his home? Why/how was she there? IF she traveled to his home, how did she even know his address? Did something really happen? IF yes, what happened? What is the teacher's side of the story? I know other people have written this, but even the law needs to be looked at, there is "nonconsensual" under the age of 17, BUT it changes to "under 18," when it is a person in a position of trust/authority. The sad reality is, there have also been cases where adults have taken advantage of minors and gotten away with it. This is such a tough call; collecting information is difficult. I pray for all involved, including the parents. I pray the truth be found out.
Kathie February 08, 2012 at 04:18 PM
(continued...part 2) Aside from this case: in any situation, my feelings are that it is NEVER acceptable for any adult to take advantage of a minor. An adult has to be the adult 24/7, even with consent. The responsibility is on the adult's shoulders to think about repercussions emotionally, physically and legally. Everyone makes mistakes and has lapses of error in judgement, but common sense has to come into play and prevail. If it doesn't, even good people can find themselves in trouble.
mom February 10, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Remember what happened in Palos Height with a 17 year old girl making false statements and creating a horrible situation for this area, when she said she was abducted and raped. This young teacher could very well be inocent and I hope he is. I pray the autrhorities do their job.Mom
Team Reynolds February 10, 2012 at 11:01 PM
BOOYA. #FreeReynolds
VB February 11, 2012 at 09:41 PM
G, I sure hope you are never on a jury..............Let the police and DCFS do their job!
carl krauss August 22, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Since this teacher got such a light sentence from a judge that needs to be reprimanded I would like to know if the child molester teacher lost his job. He should have and not be allowed to teach again.


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