Former Gavin teacher in prison for assaulting students could return to Lake County courtroom

 
 
Updated 9/6/2018 1:53 PM
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  • Michael Vucic

    Michael Vucic

A former Gavin Elementary District 37 teacher sentenced to prison for molesting two former students could return to a Lake County courtroom in October.

Judge Daniel Shanes has set an Oct. 23 court date to hear arguments on whether Michael Vucic's constitutional rights were violated when he was sentenced to 50 years in prison in November, 2015.

Vucic, 45, has the choice to return to the courtroom to hear the arguments or remain in Menard Correctional Center.

The former Lake Forest resident filed a post-conviction petition in December, claiming his constitutional rights were violated during previous court hearings.

He pleaded guilty Sept. 24, 2015, to charges of predatory criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault and possession of child pornography for molesting two former students, authorities said. Had Vucic been found guilty at trial, he could have been sentenced up to 83 years in prison.

Vucic was working as a social studies teacher at Gavin South Middle School in Ingleside when one victim told her grandparents she engaged in sex acts with him in his classroom after school and during online video chats. The grandparents contacted the sheriff's office.

Authorities said Vucic would request the student come to his classroom after school, where they would engage in sex acts. Police said Vucic assaulted the girl several times during an unspecified period of time.

During that investigation, police said they recovered video of Vucic and the student engaging in sex acts in his classroom at the school. A second victim from 2007 emerged on one of the videos police obtained during the investigation.

Vucic fled the country while the case was under investigation but before charges were filed. He was arrested by members of the sheriff's office and Interpol in Bosnia-Herzegovina in September 2014, three weeks after charges were filed.

He returned to Lake County, where he was charged with more than 50 counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He initially pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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