A former Woodland Elementary District 50 bus driver pleaded not guilty in Lake County court to multiple counts of molesting a teenage girl, authorities said Wednesday.
In all, Kristin Vesley-Miks, 32, of the 33000 block of Sunset Avenue in unincorporated Wildwood, pleaded not guilty to four counts of criminal sexual assault and 12 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in front of Judge Christopher Stride.
If found guilty of criminal sexual assault, she could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, Stride explained. The criminal sexual abuse charges could put her behind bars for seven years each.
Vesley-Miks also pleaded not guilty to two counts of indecent solicitation of a child, which could put her behind bars for up to five years.
Because the charges allege separate assaults between March 1 and Oct. 31, 2012, Stride said, any charges Vesley-Miks is found guilty would carry sentences that would have to be served consecutively instead of at the same time.
Any sentence would also force her to register as a sex offender for 10 years to life, and she could be fined up to $25,000 per charge, Stride explained.
Vesley-Miks and her attorney John Murphy did not comment after the arraignment hearing.
She was arrested May 14 by the Lake County Sheriff's Office after the mother of the 15-year-old victim found several social media messages written by Vesley-Miks referring to sexual encounters.
The victim was not a student at District 50, nor did the two meet while Vesley-Miks worked as a bus driver, authorities have said.
Vesley-Miks, who had worked for District 50 for five years, was immediately suspended from her job April 17, the same day officials learned she was being investigated, officials said. The school board voted to terminate her employment May 16.
She remains free from jail after posting 10 percent of her $150,000 bond. She is due back in court July 23.