Villa Park Trustee Robert Taglia admitted he was angry when he arrived home from work on Sept. 6 to learn his 4-year-old son had been struck with a plastic baseball bat.
But a DuPage County judge ruled Friday that Taglia, 42, of the 100 block of North Washington Avenue, took it too far when he got in his female neighbor's face over the incident.
Judge Robert Douglas found Taglia guilty Friday of disorderly conduct and sentenced him to three months probation, 30 hours of community service and a $150 fine.
Laura Pena, who lives across the street from Taglia, said through an interpreter that she was in her home when an enraged Taglia began "hitting my door and screaming rude things ..."
Afraid to answer the door, Pena testified Friday that she went out her home's rear door, holding her 1-year old son and with her 10-year-old son, and walked around to the front of the home.
"He ran toward me, screaming at me and yelling rude words at me and my kids. My son was scared and screaming," she said through an interpreter. "He called me stupid, said he was tired of my people and he kept telling us we were all going to be arrested."
Pena said several neighbors came outside and witnessed the tirade as Taglia screamed and poked his finger inches from her eyes.
Taglia, an instructor at Northwestern University, testified that Pena's 10-year-old son has a history of bullying his children both at home and school. When he arrived home that night and saw Pena's son drop a bat and run and heard his son screaming, he became angry. But he denies cursing at or making any threatening gestures.
"I was angry. I told her I was tired of this stupid crap and it has to stop right now," Taglia said. "My perception was she either didn't understand or didn't care what I had to say and it made me angry."
Taglia eventually called police. Villa Park officer Anthony Blake testified his investigation concluded that Pena's son did hit Taglia's son with a plastic Whiffle Ball bat but it "appeared to be an accident." The bat, he said, left a "dime-sized abrasion" near the 4-year-old boy's shoulder.
Taglia, though, was the one charged with disorderly conduct and surrendered to police on Sept. 9. He was released that same day. He faced a maximum 30 days in jail and a fine up to $1,500 if convicted of the low-level misdemeanor.
According to court records, Taglia also was sentenced, in May 2010, to one year of court supervision and ordered to attend alcohol counseling after pleading guilty to a Feb. 2, 2009, DUI in Lombard.
His term on the village board expires in 2017.
Taglia and Villa Park President Deborah Bullwinkel declined to comment following Friday's hearing and village attorney Kathy Orr did not immediately return a message left at her office.