Vernon Hills High soccer coach charged with sex assault of 3 students

A Vernon Hills High School soccer coach is facing a dozen felony charges alleging she engaged in sexual activity with three male students, police said Saturday.

Cori Beard, 28, of the 300 block of Farmington Lane in Vernon Hills, is charged with 12 counts of criminal sexual assault stemming from an investigation launched Thursday, when a parent of one of the students involved contacted a school staff member.

The charges allege Beard was involved in unlawful sexual acts with the students between December 2016 and February, according to police.

“As a community we all feel saddened we're dealing with this investigation,” Police Chief Patrick Kreis said.

Beard, who has been employed by Libertyville-Vernon Hills High School District 128 for three years, serves as a part-time assistant soccer coach for both the boys and girls soccer teams at Vernon Hills High, police said.

Kreis declined to say Saturday whether the students involved played soccer for Beard. There is no indication the acts occurred on campus, he said.

“At least some of the crimes occurred at Beard's residence,” Kreis said, adding the boys were under 17 years old when at least some of the conduct took place.

Investigators interviewed Beard Thursday night and worked with parents of the students and the Lake County Children's Advocacy Center to interview the students.

Beard is in custody at the Lake County jail on $1 million bail. She is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

The Vernon Hills Police Department, District 128 and the Lake County state's attorney's office continue to work on the investigation, police said.

In a statement released Saturday afternoon, district officials said the board of education would take action on Beard's dismissal at its next meeting, scheduled for March 19.

“The safety and well-being of students and staff is our top priority, and Community High School District 128 regrets the pain some individuals may be experiencing as a result of recent allegations made regarding the conduct of District 128 employee Cori Beard,” the statement reads. “Upon learning of her possible criminal conduct involving a student, the administration, working cooperatively with the police department, took measures to assure that Beard would have no further contact with students or staff.”

The district is providing counseling to students and staff members, according to the statement.

Anyone with information regarding the investigation is encouraged to call the Vernon Hills Police Department at (847) 247-4884 or contact a teacher, counselor or other school official. They may also have a family member, friend or advocate report information on their behalf, police said.

“We don't know about additional victims. However, we certainly want anyone with information to report that to us,” Kreis said.

Beard was a three-time all-area soccer player for Vernon Hills High who went on to play collegiately at Winona State University in Minnesota.

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