Former Vernon Hills soccer coach pleads guilty to sex assault, gets 6 years
A former Vernon Hills High School soccer coach was sentenced to six years in prison Thursday after admitting to sexually assaulting an underage teen she once coached.
Cori Beard, 29, of Vernon Hills pleaded guilty to criminal sexual assault of a victim under the age of 17, Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Eric Kalata said.
Under the negotiated plea approved by Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti, Beard must serve at least 85 percent of the six-year sentence before she's eligible for parole, Kalata said.
Beard also pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge of attempted criminal sexual assault involving a second victim, Kalata said. She was sentenced to two years of probation on that conviction, which will be served after she is released from prison, Kalata said.
Beard also must undergo mental health and substance abuse screenings and register as a sexual predator for the rest of her life, Kalata said.
Had the case gone to trial, Beard could have been sentenced up to 180 years in prison.
Additional charges of criminal sexual assault were dropped by prosecutors in exchange for the plea.
Beard was accused of assaulting the boys between November 2015 and February 2018, while she served as coach of the freshman boys and girls soccer teams at Vernon Hills High.
Kalata said the 14- and 15-year-old victims were students at the high school and once played for Beard's soccer team. They were not on the team coached by Beard at the time the crimes occurred.
Authorities said the assaults took place in several locations, 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 the part-time assistant soccer coach. She was fired shortly after charges were announced.
She's been held in Lake County jail on $1 million bail since her arrest in March.