Former Aurora kindergarten teacher gets 18 years for sexual abuse, assault of student

A former East Aurora District 131 kindergarten teacher has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for sexually abusing and assaulting one of his students.

Kane County Judge Salvatore LiPiccolo sentenced Juan Avendano, 66, on May 17.

A jury last August found Avendano, of the 1300 block of South Glen Circle in Aurora, guilty of three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Between August 2016 and June 2017, Avendano made sexual contact with the victim in his classroom at Bardwell Elementary School in Aurora.

"Mr. Avendano took advantage of a relationship built on the trust of a vulnerable child. Fortunately, this child realized that Mr. Avendano was unworthy of trust and spoke up about his criminal acts," Assistant State's Attorney Matthew Rodgers said in a news release from the Kane County state's attorney's office.

Avendano will have to serve at least 85% of the sentence before he is eligible for parole. He has been in the Kane County jail since his conviction.

Avendano will have to register for life as a sexual offender.

At the trial, the victim testified Avendano would sit with her at a table to work on her reading skills and would touch her "private parts." The table was partially concealed by file cabinets, she said. She also said he kissed her on the lips when they were in a closet where students' backpacks were stored.

Avendano's attorney argued the girl made up the story to avoid being scolded by her mother.

Avendano taught at the school for 15 years.

The victim's family has sued the school district. They allege the abuse was reported to school officials as early as 2014, but the then-principal and a teacher did not report it to authorities until 2018. The teacher was convicted in 2018 of failure to report abuse. The lawsuit is ongoing.

Avendano also was charged with assaulting and abusing another student, but it is not clear from online court records what happened to those charges.

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