Former worker at school for disabled students charged with sexual assault

Editor's note: The story has been updated to indicate Suaste-Gonzalez was removed from his position and suspended without pay earlier this month after police notified SEDOL of the criminal investigation.

A former employee of the Special Education District of Lake County accused of sexually assaulting and abusing a disabled student while employed by the agency was ordered held on $2 million bail Tuesday.

Israel Suaste-Gonzalez, 49, of the 19000 block of Cambridge Road near Mundelein, was arrested Monday night and charged with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, four counts of criminal sexual assault and one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

The crimes occurred between 2016 and 2018, while Suaste-Gonzalez was working as a paraprofessional at a district facility in Grayslake, according to the Lake County state's attorney's office. The facility specializes in preparing students between the ages of 18 and 21 for life beyond high school, and the victim was enrolled at the time.

Prosecutors declined to release the student's age to protect her identity. She reported the attacks in late November, officials said.

The student, who called Suaste-Gonzalez her teacher, said he molested her multiple times at the school, prosecutors said.

The student believed she was required to participate because her "teacher" repeatedly told her so, prosecutors said. The student said Suaste-Gonzalez told her not to tell anyone, officials said.

After police notified SEDOL officials of the complaint, Suaste-Gonzalez was removed from his position and suspended without pay pending dismissal, SEDOL Superintendent Valerie Donnan said in a statement.

Suaste-Gonzalez admitted to police that he sexually abused the student at least five times, according to county prosecutors.

"Adults who sexually assault or abuse people with intellectual or physical disabilities and children are among the absolute worst offenders we see through our office," State's Attorney Michael Nerheim said. "Our hearts go out to the victim and the family. We applaud her courage in coming forward."

Grayslake police investigated the case.

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