Former teacher facing sex abuse charges waives extradition

Updated 1/8/2015 3:05 PM
  • Michael Vucic

    Michael Vucic

An Ingleside teacher who fled the U.S. after allegations surfaced that he had sex with a former student could appear in a Lake County bond court by the end of the week, authorities said.

Michael R. Vucic waived extradition in Virginia, and deputies are making arrangements to return the former teacher to stand trial in Lake County, Lake County Undersheriff Raymond J. Rose said.

Rose said it's unknown if Vucic would appear in bond court Friday or over the weekend.

Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim also confirmed Vucic waived extradition in Virginia, but he said he did not know when Vucic would be back in Illinois and appear in court.

Vucic, 41, of the 100 block of East Laurel Avenue in Lake Forest, fled to Bosnia-Herzegovina in Europe on Aug. 26, three days before being charged with five counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and five counts of criminal sexual assault, authorities said.

A $1 million arrest warrant was issued for the former social studies teacher after the allegations came to light Aug. 29.

Authorities said Vucic was an 18-year instructor at Gavin South Middle School in Ingleside when he molested a female student under the age of 13.

The victim told family members Aug. 25 she had sexual contact with Vucic at the school several times in 2012, authorities said.

Vucic remained hidden for about three weeks before being captured in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo on Sept. 19. He fought extradition to the U.S. for about three months, authorities said.

The U.S. Marshals Service announced Dec. 31 that Vucic was en route to the U.S. to face charges. He has remained in a Virginia jail until an extradition hearing was held Wednesday.

Vucic was fired by Gavin Elementary District 37 in October.

Three other teachers were also fired after being charged with failure to report the sexual abuse of the student, a class A misdemeanor. Gavin South Middle School teachers April Courtney, 37, and John Keehan, 40, were fired by District 37, and Michael Lanners, 38, was fired by Mundelein Elementary District 75 for not reporting Vucic to administrators or police, as required by law.

Lanners worked with Vucic at Gavin South in 2002, before going to work in District 75.

Since Vucic's arrest warrant became public, two more possible victims approached the sheriff's office, according to authorities. Police said the girls are also former students at the Fox Lake-area school system.

Police are still investigating, authorities said, and additional charges are possible.

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