Bail revoked for former Gavin teacher in sexual assault case
A former Lake County teacher was ordered held without bond after he pleaded not guilty to charges he had sex with two former students, one of whom was videotaped while being sexually assaulted inside a Gavin South Middle School classroom.
Judge Daniel Shanes revoked bail for Michael Vucic, 41, after the judge determined Vucic is a flight risk with the financial resources available to potentially post bail and not return to court for trial.
Vucic, of the 100 block of East Laurel Avenue in Lake Forest, was initially ordered held on $10 million bail. He would be released from jail if he posted $1 million, the required 10 percent of his total bail.
"Your bond is very high for someone in these circumstances, more so than other people in similar circumstances," Shanes told Vucic before revoking his bail during Thursday's hearing in Waukegan. "That's because you weren't just out of town when you were taken into custody. You were in another continent."
Defense attorney Elliot Pinsel asked Shanes to reduce Vucic's bail because he did not have a criminal record before being charged in August with multiple felony counts of sexually assaulting a student in 2007 and another 2012.
Pinsel also said in court it was "my understanding that (Vucic) surrendered to authorities in Bosnia," where he fled two days before the arrest warrant was issued. Pinsel declined to comment after the hearing.
Vucic was arrested in Bosnia-Herzegovina in September, three weeks after he was charged with criminal sexual assault of a student he taught in Gavin Elementary District 37 in Ingleside.
Authorities said Vucic was 39 when he began engaging in sex acts with one student in 2012. He had been her social studies teacher and yearbook adviser, authorities said.
Assistant State's Attorney Fred Day said Vucic would request the student come to his classroom after school and they would engage in sex acts. Sex acts also took place when Vucic and the student would Skype to each other over the Internet, Day said.
The victim, who is no longer a student at the school, told her grandparents about Vucic, and they called police, authorities said.
During the investigation, a teacher came forward with a plastic bag containing more than 20 thumb drives and videotapes of Vucic engaging in sex acts with the victim, authorities said. Day said in court Vucic left specific instructions for friends to destroy the contents should he die or be arrested.
The videos contained evidence of Vucic engaging in sex acts with the most recent victim in a classroom in 2012. They also show him having sex with another victim, Day said.
Police contacted the second victim, who admitted to police she had sexual contact with Vucic in 2007, when she was 14, authorities said.
Vucic faces more than 50 counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, sexual exploitation of a child, aggravated child pornography, criminal sexual assault of a victim under the age of 17 and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
If found guilty on the most serious charges, he could be sentenced up to 120 years in prison, Shanes said.
Vucic's trial date is scheduled for April 13. He is next due in court Feb. 24.