Aurora teacher sentenced to supervision over failure to report suspected child sexual abuse

 
 
Updated 11/15/2019 7:01 PM

A former first-grade teacher at Bardwell Elementary School in Aurora was sentenced to 18 months of supervision Friday for failing to report child abuse.

Elizabeth Aguilar, 43, of Aurora also will have to perform 150 hours of community service, Kane County Judge Alice Tracy ruled Friday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Aguilar told Tracy she taught at Bardwell for 17 years. She said she knows she made a mistake and blamed it on stress at work. She also said she asked for help but did not receive it.

Tracy said she wanted Aguilar to say she was sorry but instead heard her blame others. But the judge said she gave deference to the letters and testimony of Aguilar's supporters.

She was charged with the misdemeanor offense in October 2018 and could have been sentenced to up to 364 days in jail.

Teachers are required by state law to immediately report suspected child abuse and neglect to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services or police.

According to prosecutors, on or about March 7, 2018, a friend of the victim told Aguilar about the abuse, but Aguilar did not believe her and did not make the required call.

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Aguilar's case is related to allegations against substitute teacher Juan Avendano, who faces charges he sexually assaulted and sexually abused two kindergarten students -- one from January to November 2014, the other from January 2016 to December 2017. He was charged with predatory criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and indecent solicitation of a child.

The families of the girls have sued the school district. The mother of one said in her lawsuit her daughter told her about Avendano in September 2014, and the mother then told Bardwell's principal and other district officials.

The lawsuit alleges the district did nothing to remove Avendano's access to students. The mother alleges that the abuse became worse after that, and in November 2014 the mother reported it to police.

A jury convicted Aguilar Sept. 13. The East Aurora school board fired her Sept. 3.

Aguilar told the judge she's been notified she may lose her teaching license. The Illinois State Board of Education could order her to undergo more training, suspend or revoke her license.

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