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posted: 6/7/2010 12:01 AM

Third trial date should be the real thing

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A former middle schoolteacher accused of molesting three young boys will finally stand trial this fall - nearly four years after he was charged.

Last week, Kane County Judge Allen M. Anderson set Sept. 27 as the trial date for Robert Steck, whose jury trial has been delayed twice since last August.

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The Aurora resident's latest attorney, Kathleen Colton, said the trial is really, really going to happen this time.

"I'm confident we'll be ready to go," Colton said. "I don't see any reason why we wouldn't be able to proceed on Sept. 27."

Steck, 41, showed up on the eve of his last trial date in December, telling Anderson he wasn't ready because his attorney had done "inadequate work" on the case.

Anderson granted Steck an extension so he could get new representation, but said the whole thing "could suggest an effort at avoiding the trial not for legitimate reasons but for putting it off," which Steck denied.

On Thursday, Prosecutor Christine Bayer said state witnesses have been prepared and ready to go since last year, and likewise will be ready on the 27th.

"We've been ready for quite a while," she said.

Steck, a former coach and teacher at Aurora's Cowherd Middle School, was initially charged in October 2006. He faces 15 charges, including aggravated criminal sex abuse and indecent solicitation, involving a trio of boys between the ages of 11 and 14.

If convicted of the most serious count, a Class 2 felony, he could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison or probation.

Home invasion: A Peoria man is set to appear in court Wednesday on charges he broke into the Batavia home of his estranged girlfriend and beat her.

Michael B. Lashmett, 40, who is being held in the county jail on $750,000 bail, was charged May 28 with home invasion, violation of an order of protection and battery. Police said Lashmett initially fled after the incident, at about 12:30 a.m. May 22, but later surrendered. The victim was treated for injuries but was not hospitalized.

Busy, busy: Campton Hills police wrote a whopping 111 traffic citations over two weeks last month in a special campaign that ended on Memorial Day.

The enforcement effort was the village's third to be funded through a $17,444 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Police said they issued 48 citations for seat belt violations, 62 tickets for speeding, and made one driving under the influence arrest from May 14 to 31. In addition to tickets, drivers were given educational materials about speeding and seat belt issues. Police Chief Dan Hoffman said the goal is to try and make driving in Campton Hills as safe as possible and reduce the number of injury and fatal accidents.

"We hope enforcement will motivate drivers to wear safety belts and follow the speed limit," he said.

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