Former West Aurora band director dropped from lawsuit

Published: Friday, Jan. 24, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

Former West Aurora High School band director Stephen Orland has been dropped from a lawsuit filed by one of two students who had been sexually abused by Orland, who in 2012 pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Last week, the case against Orland was dismissed with prejudice.

However, the case against the other defendants in the case, West Aurora School District 129, School District Superintendent James Rydland and then-West Aurora High School Principal Dan Bridges, remains pending.

Orland was sentenced in 2012 to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty.

Orland will have to serve at least six years in prison. He had been charged with 27 counts that included battery, sexual assault and sexual abuse of two students.

The student is identified only as Jane Doe in the lawsuit.

The suit states school officials failed to report Orland’s behavior to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, as required by law.

Doe’s attorney could not be reached for comment Thursday. Last year, a 10-month Kane County State’s Attorney’s investigation found that possibly as many as 10 district employees had knowledge of suspected abuse by Orland, but did not report it to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services as required by law.

Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon decided to defer for 60 months prosecuting against any district officials or employees in exchange for the district signing an agreement designed to protect students from abuse.

“We didn’t see evidence that somebody was trying to cover up or act in malice,” McMahon said at the time.

The suit states Orland initiated a sexual relationship with the plaintiff in December 2009 or January 2010, when the plaintiff was a 16-year-old junior.

“West Aurora High School teachers and other employees spoke to each other about Orland’s inappropriate behavior toward female students but never reported his activities to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services,” according to the lawsuit.

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