Defense: Former Carpentersville teacher 'falsely accused' of assaulting students
The trial for a former Carpentersville substitute teacher accused of sexually assaulting and abusing three students began Tuesday, with prosecutors promising jurors will hear how one victim, now 12, was repeatedly assaulted from August 2015 through June 2016.
"He's going to tell you how this happened at (Golfview Elementary) school and to and from soccer practice," Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Seberger said in her opening statement.
Defense attorneys say the allegations against Carlos A. Bedoya, 64, of Lake in the Hills, an educator for nearly 40 years, were the product of "adult suggestion and coaching" from investigators after the boy talked with his mom and was referred to the Kane County Child Advocacy Center, which investigates crimes against children.
"Carlos Bedoya has been falsely accused, and he's been wrongfully charged," defense attorney Brian Stevens said.
Bedoya was arrested in summer 2017 on charges he sexually abused a 6-year-old student. After his initial arrest, prosecutors upgraded charges, accusing Bedoya of assaulting and abusing two other students while working as a substitute teacher at Golfview and as a tutor in the school's library for a program called "Catch Up" run by the Boys and Girls Club of Dundee.
In subsequent months, more accusers -- now totaling 10 -- came forward, and additional charges were filed against Bedoya, who is being held at the Kane County jail on $4.8 million bail.
The trial this week will center on the 12-year-old boy and two other students Bedoya is accused of assaulting.
Stevens argued his client was always with several other tutors in the after-school program and each tutor had three to four students. Stevens noted the library has clear sightlines and windows that would allow people to witness any student abuse.
He also contended the 12-year-old's account has been "inconsistent, contradictory" and changes when retold.
The trial, presided over by Judge D.J. Tegeler, is expected to run through Friday. If convicted of all eight counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, Bedoya faces a sentence ranging from 48 years to life in prison.
The trial was briefly delayed Tuesday morning when a female juror told the court bailiff that while texting her sister Monday night, the sister referred to several criminal cases and lawsuits Bedoya was facing. Dundee Community Unit District 300 also is being sued.
The female juror was excused, and Bedoya's lawyers asked for a mistrial because of a tainted jury and for an entire new jury to be impaneled.
Tegeler questioned each remaining juror to see what each had heard, excused another male juror, and continued with the trial after reviewing case law and moving alternate jurors into active duty.