'Was revered, now reviled'; Former coach, counselor gets probation, home confinement
The former St. Viator High School counselor and basketball coach convicted of misdemeanor disorderly conduct for sending an inappropriate text message to a 16-year-old female student was sentenced Wednesday to 12 months probation, 30 days home confinement, a $1,000 fine and court costs.
Joseph Majkowski, 68, did not speak during his sentencing hearing, nor did he visibly react to the sentence that did not include the jail time that several accusers and their parents had requested.
Majkowski already is serving a 24-month probation term after pleading guilty last year to a separate charge of misdemeanor battery.
While the charges he faced were misdemeanors, that did not diminish their seriousness, Cook County Judge Steven Wagner said.
"There's isn't a sentence that could be imposed that's going to give you back the things that you believe you lost," he told Majkowski's accusers, who were 15 and 16 in 2019 when the former school counselor texted them.
"There's nothing I can do to repair the damage that was done," he said. "I wish I could."
Wagner acquitted Majkowski last week of three disorderly conduct charges involving three female students. But the judge convicted him of a fourth charge involving a now 20-year-old college student who testified Majkowski called her "beautiful" and "amazing" in text messages, while also stating, "when you're older I want to do stuff with you. You can't tell anyone that."
In addition to statements from three of the four accusers, five parents and stepparents provided statements to the court.
The young women described feeling "gutted" and "disgusted" by an adult they once respected and trusted, whose job was to support them academically and emotionally. One accuser described the events as a "devastating betrayal" by a "toxic" individual who exploited his authority over her. Another stated the experience "scarred her for life."
Parents spoke of the emotional toll on their daughters, the betrayal of trust the teens endured and the strength it took to come forward.
"All of us despise you to your core," said one mother, who described the texts as "downright creepy."
"We depended on you to help our daughters and you failed us, St. Viator and the community," wrote one father, who described Majkowski's conduct as reprehensible.
"Misdemeanor is an inadequate description of what this is," said a stepfather. "(Majkowski's) damage will be with her for a lifetime."
As the hearing concluded, Wagner observed that Majkowski -- who coached St. Viator's boys basketball 35 years and was a 2012 inductee to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame -- probably did not imagine his career concluding this way.
"You were an individual who for many years was someone who was revered, now you are reviled," he said. "For that I'm sorry, but you have only yourself to blame."