Settlement reached in West Aurora School District sex abuse case

Published: Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

A confidential settlement has been reached between West Aurora School District 129 and a former West Aurora High School student, who had been sexually abused by former West Aurora High School band director Stephen Orland.

Orland, formerly of North Aurora, pleaded guilty in 2012 to two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. 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, identified only as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, had sued Orland along with District 129, Superintendent James Rydland and then-Principal Dan Bridges.

Last month, Orland was dropped from the case. On Monday, Kane County Judge Keith Brown dismissed with prejudice the suit against the other defendants, meaning it can’t be refiled. He also ordered that the settlement agreement be sealed.

The suit stated school officials failed to report Orland ’s behavior to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, as required by law. According to the suit, Orland initiated a sexual relationship with the plaintiff in December 2009 or January 2010, when the plaintiff was a 16-year-old junior.

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.

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Jan Schlictmann at a Geneva law firm.

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