A former Waukegan High School physical education teacher was found not guilty on charges that he had sex with a minor in 2010.
In announcing his ruling Thursday, Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes said he hoped Brandon Brown, 31, will never be allowed to teach or coach sports again. Brown had been charged with criminal sexual assault of a girl, who authorities said was 17 years old at the time.
"Bottom line, your pursuit of her (the victim) was abominable and your conduct reprehensible," Shanes said. He added there is a law in which a teacher could be charged with a crime if they have sex with a student of any age.
Brown was on trial and facing 4 to 15 years in prison if found guilty of having sex with the underage victim while he worked as a physical education teacher at Waukegan High School's Brookside Campus. She was a student at the school at the time.
Throughout the two-day trial, prosecutors and the defense attorney agreed Brown had sex with the unidentified student in his Waukegan home at some point in late 2010.
Prosecutors tried to prove through witnesses, text messages and phone calls made between the victim and Brown that they had sex four days before her 18th birthday.
Defense attorney Alan Jones said during closing arguments that prosecutors failed to do that.
Brown testified in court that the event took place a month after the victim turned 18.
In his ruling, Shanes said the state did not prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that Brown and the victim had sex when she was 17.
Brown, of the 3000 block of Kathe Lane, refused to comment after the verdict Thursday.
He worked for District 60 for eight years, and was initially suspended from teaching pending the outcome of the case. District officials said they could not comment on the particulars of Brown's employment, except to say he was no longer with the district as of October 2013.
Prosecutors also did not comment on the verdict.