State: Teacher exchanged nearly 47,000 texts with victims
A former West Aurora High School band teacher who is accused of having sex with two of his students exchanged nearly 47,000 text messages with the pair, made sexual advances toward other students, was warned by the district superintendent not to be alone with female students, and sent one victim nine cards and love notes, according to court filings by Kane County prosecutors Thursday.
Stephen Orland, 42, of North Aurora, was arrested last spring on charges he had sex with two of his female students from October 2010 through April 2011 in the band room and storage room at the school, and in his car after a concert in December 2010.
If convicted of criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse, Orland could face up to 45 years in prison. He is free on bond but has been fired from his job.
Defense attorney Robert Nathe said he had not yet reviewed documents filed in court Thursday, so he could not respond to specific allegations.
Nathe plans to fight the admissibility of text messages and indicated he likely would challenge other evidence brought forward by the state.
"I hope to show the court that Stephen Orland is innocent," Nathe said. "I have to make sure reliable evidence is introduced."
Assistant State's Attorney Pam Monaco filed several motions Thursday before Judge Allen Anderson, seeking to include additional evidence in the case against Orland.
Monaco argues that Orland's actions toward others show a pattern of behavior and that he abused his position of trust and authority at the school.
Among the allegations, according to court documents:
• Orland exchanged 31,339 text messages with one of his accusers and 15,552 text messages with his other accuser — a total of 46,891.
• Orland sent one victim nine notes and greeting cards to her locker and to her home. Some notes said he was thinking of her and wanted to spend more time together. An Illinois State Police handwriting expert will testify that the writing on the cards is from Orland.
• Orland made sexual advances toward one girl while on a band trip to Peoria from Jan. 26 through Jan. 29, 2011. The girl had problems with her instrument and went to Orland's hotel room, which he was sharing with another male faculty member who was gone at the time. Orland made sexual advances toward the girl, who was worried the other teacher might return unexpectedly. Orland sent his co-worker a text to find out his whereabouts. He also sent the girl texts that said "I want to kiss you now" and "I want you now" and took a picture of the two in bed together, according to court documents.
• On May 5, 2011, a teacher tried to open the door to the band storage room, but someone pulled it shut. She tried again and after it opened, found a "disheveled" Orland and one of the victims standing behind him. The girl "immediately looked away" and the teacher reported what happened.
• A janitor on July 6, 2010, saw Orland hugging a blonde-haired student in the band storage room. As the janitor approached, Orland ran away. The janitor told his supervisor, and the complaint eventually reached District 129 Superintendent Jim Rydland, who had a meeting with Orland and prohibited him from being alone with any female student or risk termination.
Orland is next due in court Feb. 9 when Anderson will hear arguments on what evidence is admissible.
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