ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A former East Aurora School District 131 employee was sentenced Nov. 15 for failing to report suspected child abuse to authorities as required by law, according to a news release from the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Kane County Associate Judge Alice C. Tracy sentenced Elizabeth Aguilar, 44, of the 300 block of Marion Avenue, Aurora, to 18 months of supervision and 150 hours of community service.
A Kane County jury found Aguilar on Sept. 10, guilty of the offense of failure to report child abuse as a mandated reporter, which is a Class A misdemeanor.
Kane County prosecutors presented evidence that on March 7, 2018, Aguilar, a teacher at Bardwell Elementary School in Aurora, having reasonable cause to believe that a child known to her in her professional capacity was an abused child, failed to immediately make a report of the suspected abuse to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the release stated.
As a teacher, Aguilar was designated by Illinois' Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act to be a mandated reporter of abuse and neglect of children and is required to immediately report suspected abuse and neglect to Illinois DCFS.
Aguilar is no longer employed by District 131.
In issuing the sentence, Tracy expressed dismay that although Aguilar acknowledged to the court that she made a mistake in not making the report, she did not apologize for her poor judgment and blamed others instead.
Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon stated in the release that mandated reporters are obligated by law to report suspected child abuse.
“Children are told that when they are in danger they should tell someone. What a shame that the person given this information failed to follow through,” McMahon stated in the release.
“I hope this prosecution has sent a clear and strong message that there are consequences to those who do not take this obligation seriously.”
McMahon also thanked Kane County Assistant State's Attorneys Matt Rodgers and Sarah Seberger, who are assigned to the Child Advocacy Center, for their work on this case.
Mandated reporters who reasonably believe that a child may have been abused or neglected must immediately call DCFS at 1-800-252-2873 to make a report.
Any person may call about suspected abuse. If a report proves to be unfounded, the law provides immunity if the report was made in good faith, the release stated.