Darien man admits he grabbed 18-year-old's private parts; avoids up to year in jail
A former music teacher who was fired from a Lombard Catholic high school avoided a possible yearlong jail sentence Tuesday after admitting that he grabbed the private parts of a student to discipline him.
Robert Johnson, 44, of Darien, who taught at Montini Catholic High School, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery of the 18-year-old student, with whom Johnson was purportedly having disciplinary problems. He was sentenced to 2 years of supervision, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, ordered not to resume a teaching career or have any public service employment around juveniles, and to have counseling approved by the probation department.
DuPage Assistant State's Atty. Karin Karavalos told Judge Michael Burke that Johnson approached the student Feb. 19, complained about his work, then grabbed or squeezed the student's private parts. Moments later, Johnson made a hand gesture suggesting he would do it again, but did not, Karavalos said.
"There were four girls present in the classroom, making this a crude act that caused embarrassment," Karavalos said. "A teacher is supposed to mold minds, not insult by grabbing a student's private parts."
Defense attorney Stephen Brundage said his client's actions were bad judgment.
"This was inappropriate, [but] not sexual in nature," Brundage told Burke.
"It was a mean reaction. I never meant any insult," said Johnson, who has no previous criminal record.
Brundage also said Johnson was already seeing a mental health counselor for depression and would continue that treatment. The student required no medical attention and wasn't in court Tuesday.
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