A former Grant Community High School teacher avoided jail time Thursday by pleading guilty to one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for having an inappropriate relationship with a male student last fall.
Amber Kraus, 30, of Mundelein, was sentenced to 30 months of probation as part of the plea deal approved by Lake County Judge James Booras. She will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.
Kraus also was ordered to perform 150 hours of community service, though that sentence could be reduced to 50 hours if she successfully completes a specialized sex abuse counseling program. She also will donate $500 to the Lake County Child Advocacy Center, and was ordered to not have any contact with the 16-year-old victim, his family, Grant High School, or any minors under the age of 17 while on probation.
"Amber is relieved to put this behind her," defense attorney Jeff Nutschnig said after the hearing.
Kraus has remained free from jail after posting the required 10 percent of her $100,000 bail after pleading not guilty in December to counts of criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse with a victim under 17.
Had she been found guilty of the most serious charge at trial, she could have been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
Kraus resigned from the Fox Lake-area high school immediately after the allegations of the inappropriate relationship surfaced in October. She had worked there as a science teacher for eight years before her resignation was approved Oct. 8 by the Grant High School District 124 board.
Assistant State's attorney Jason Grindel said allegations that Kraus was having an affair with a student came to the attention of school leaders during the first week of October, and she was immediately suspended.
She admitted to police during the investigation that she had carried on the relationship at her Grayslake residence, Grindel added.
The charge of sexual assault and a second charge of sexual abuse were dropped by prosecutors as part of the plea deal.