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Local

Illinois Youth Center-St. Charles guards charged with provoking attacks

ST. CHARLES – Four Illinois Youth Center-St. Charles guards have been indicted for encouraging juvenile detainees to attack other detainees as a form of discipline, according to a news release from the Kane County State's Attorney's Office.

Johan O. Asiata, Michael M. Klimek, Andre L. McFarland and Elliott J. Short were indicted on multiple counts Nov. 22 by a Kane County grand jury. An arrest warrant for each was issued immediately, the release stated.

Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon alleges that the guards, led by Klimek, encouraged certain juvenile residents to physically attack other juvenile residents, facilitated the attacks and stood idly by during the attacks.

The offenses took place in January 2016, and the indictments state that each of the defendants was acting in his official capacity when he engaged in the alleged acts, which took place at the facility – which is public property, the release stated.

All were employed as juvenile justice specialists at the time of the alleged offenses, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Asiata, 30, of the 26200 block of South Rachel Drive, Channahon, is charged with five counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated battery and one count of unlawful restraint. He was taken into custody Nov. 23 by Illinois State Police and was released from Kane County jail Nov. 24 after posting $5,000 bond, the release stated.

Klimek, 40, of the 100 block of Tuma Road, Yorkville, is charged with 53 counts of official misconduct, 18 counts of aggravated battery, three counts of unlawful restraint, one count of mob action and one count of theft. He was taken into custody Nov. 22 by Illinois State Police and was released Nov. 23 from Kane County jail after posting $7,500 bond, the release stated.

McFarland, 31, of the 4500 block of Hitching Post Trail, Rockford, is charged with eight counts of official misconduct and one count of aggravated battery. He was taken into custody Nov. 22 by Illinois State Police and was released Nov. 26 from Kane County jail after posting $3,000 bond.

Short, 34, of the 1900 block of Oak Street, St. Charles, is charged with four counts of official misconduct and two counts of aggravated battery. He was taken into custody Nov. 22 by Illinois State Police and was released Nov. 23 from Kane County jail after posting $5,000 bond, the release stated.

The charges allege 10 victims – for incidents to have taken place Jan. 9 to 13 and 28, the release stated, noting that the allegations were reported to the Illinois Department of Corrections in late January. The Illinois State Police handled the investigation, and the defendants were placed on administrative leave.

A news release from the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice – or IDJJ – stated that the department "will continue to cooperate with state partners to address any structural problems identified during the [investigation] process."

"Due to our obligation to protect the confidentiality of underage youth in our facilities, the department is unable to further discuss the details of the incident," the IDJJ release stated.

If convicted of the most serious offense, each of the defendants faces a sentence of probation – or two to five years in prison, the release from the Kane County State's Attorney's Office stated.

McFarland is set to appear in court at 9 a.m. Nov. 30; Klimek at 9 a.m. Dec. 5; Short at 9 a.m. Dec. 7; and Asiata at 9 a.m. Dec. 8. All will appear in Room 217 of the Kane County Judicial Center.

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