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Local

Ex-principal convicted of not reporting child abuse

Sentencing set for Jan. 28

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A second former East Aurora School District 131 employee was found guilty Tuesday for failing to report suspected child abuse and neglect as required by law, the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office announced in a news release.

Kane County Circuit Judge Michael Noland found Matthew Willigman, 42, of the 40W000 block of Palmer Road, Blackberry Township, guilty of the offense of failure to report child abuse as a mandated reporter, Class A misdemeanor.

Willigman waived his right to a jury trial, the release stated.

Kane County Assistant State's Attorneys Sarah Seberger and Matthew Rodgers presented evidence that in March 2018, Willigman, then the principal at O'Donnell Elementary School in Aurora, had reasonable cause to believe that a child known to him in his professional capacity was possibly an abused child, failed to make a report of the suspected abuse to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the release stated.

As a principal, Willigman was designated by the state’s Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act to be a mandated reporter of abuse and neglect of children and was required to immediately report suspected abuse and neglect to Illinois DCFS.

Noland set Jan. 28 for Willigman’s sentencing. He faces a sentence of up to 364 days in the Kane County jail.

In October, a Kane County jury found Elizabeth Aguilar guilty of the same offense, also a Class A misdemeanor Aguilar was a teacher at Bardwell Elementary School in the same district at the time.

A judge sentenced Aguilar to 18 months of supervision and 150 hours of community service.

Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon stated in the release that state law entrusts adults who work with children with the responsibility of looking out for their best interests.

“Mandated reporters who fail to follow through with this responsibility potentially put vulnerable children in danger by allowing abuse and neglect to continue,” McMahon stated in the release.

"Mandated reporters who reasonably believe that a child may have been abused or neglected must immediately call DCFS at 800-252-2873 to make a report,” McMahon stated in the release. “Any person may call about suspected abuse. If a report proves to be unfounded, the law provides immunity to the reporter if the report was made in good faith."

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