Ex-Vernon Hills coach pleads not guilty to sexual assault
A former freshman soccer coach pleaded not guilty in Lake County court Wednesday to charges she sexually assaulted two Vernon Hills High School students on several occasions over more than two years.
Cori Beard, 28, of Vernon Hills, is charged with 12 counts of criminal sexual assault involving the boys, who were 13 to 17 years old.
If found guilty on all charges, she could be sentenced to a minimum of 48 years and a maximum of 180 years in prison.
Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti set a July 30 trial date.
Rossetti denied a motion by defense attorney Barry Sheppard to lower Beard's bail from $1 million. Sheppard did not specify how much of a reduction he was seeking, but said he was hoping to have the amount lowered to something Beard's family could afford to post.
Sheppard argued bond should be lowered because Beard had no previous criminal background, was not a flight risk, and the boys were not physically harmed.
"At this point, it appears this case is likely to go to trial," Sheppard said.
Beard is accused of assaulting the boys between November 2015 and February 2018, while she served as a coach of the freshman boys and girls soccer teams.
The victims were students in the high school but were not on the team coached by Beard.
Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Eric Kalata said in court additional charges could be filed in coming weeks because prosecutors have discovered two more victims.
He said the case remains under investigation.
Authorities said Beard assaulted the victims in several locations in Lake County, including her house, her parents' house in Libertyville, and in a vehicle parked in various locations.
Beard was employed by Libertyville-Vernon Hills High School District 128 for three years as a part-time assistant soccer coach, according to police. She was fired shortly after charges were announced.
Beard is due back in court May 9.