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Local

Former Wheaton North teacher sentenced in sexual assault case

WHEATON – A former Wheaton North teacher and speech team coach has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after the revelation that he had inappropriate sexual contact with a former student.

Edwin Klemm, 43, who has had a listed residence of St. Charles, entered a guilty plea for two counts of criminal sexual assault Thursday morning. According to a news release from the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office, Klemm assaulted the female victim on multiple occasions from February to November 2011, including at least once at his home while his daughter was at the residence.

The assaults were discovered when the parents of the former student found love letters from Klemm to his victim. The parents then contacted the DuPage County Children’s Center, which opened an investigation.

Paul Darrah, the communications manager for the county state’s attorney’s office, said that the Children’s Center is comprised of investigators specially trained to deal with child abuse cases.

“With sexual abuse, physical abuse or even emotional abuse, when interviewing kids you have to be more sensitive,” he said. “The investigators try to avoid making the victims relive the abuse over and over in interviews, as well as picking up on cues the kids give.”

Wheaton Warrenville School District 200 representatives declined to comment on the sentencing, but the district said in a March 20 release that Klemm was suspended without pay and that, while they understood that no additional former or current students were involved, counseling would be available.

“The district takes the safety and emotional well-being of our students very seriously. All staff must complete rigorous criminal background checks before beginning employment,” the release said. “We encourage parents to reach out to their school social workers, counselors and psychologists if they need assistance in talking to their children about these terrible, unfortunate allegations.”

Darrah said Klemm was originally charged with 11 counts, but negotiated a plea bargain to plead guilty to two. Klemm will be eligible for parole after he has served 85 percent of his sentence and will be required to register as a sex offender for life.

“We’re thankful to the school for their assistance, the Wheaton Police Department and for the family for doing the right thing and bringing it to our attention,” Darrah said.

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