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Article updated: 6/7/2013 7:12 PM

Ex-Lake Forest High School theater manager accused of sex crimes

Benjamin M. Davidson

Benjamin M. Davidson

 
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By Daily Herald report

A former theater manager at Lake Forest High School was arrested Friday on charges he engaged in sexual relationships with two female students, according to Lake Forest police.

Benjamin M. Davidson, 30, of North Chicago, was held on $100,000 bond on charges including criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and child pornography, police said.

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Police say Davidson had an "inappropriate and illegal relationship of a sexual nature" with the two students, both under 18, while in a position of authority over them.

According police, Davidson was a manager of the drama department's audio visual services at the high school, managing a staff of student volunteers who provided support for the school's dramatic performances.

Police said school officials in late March received a complaint from a parent regarding Davidson's conduct and reported the allegations to police and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Davidson, who had worked at the school since May 2008, resigned after school officials spoke with him about the complaint, police said.

Lake Forest police detectives conducted a three-month investigation that included interviews with Davidson, witnesses and potential victims, according to a department release. Text messages, emails, videos and photographs from a "variety of digital sources" were obtained and analyzed, police said.

"These records indicate a consistent pattern of Davidson engaging in inappropriate and explicit text conversations of a sexual nature with students. In some cases, he describes sex acts he completed with those students," police said in a release.

Police said the charges involve alleged actions between Dec. 1, 2012 and Jan. 31, 2013. Davidson was the theater manager during the entire period covered by the charges, police said.

He was taken into custody Friday without incident, police said, and is charged with nine criminal counts. The child pornography charge was brought because Davidson "solicited a minor to be the subject of photographs of a sexual nature," according to the release.

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