The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has decided to ask the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office to prosecute the West Aurora High School District for not notifying the agency about the school’s band director abusing female students.
The teacher, Stephen Orland, is now serving a 12-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to sexual abuse charges involving two students. Orland had sent girls thousands of texts and dropped notes and letters in their lockers during school since they were freshman students. He admitted that he often arranged to meet the girls in a band storage room, where he abused them.
A now-retired custodian at West Aurora High School, Leon Smith, said he tried to stop Steve Orland a year before he was arrested. He said he had reported seeing Orland with a female student, even catching Orland with a student in a storage room. There were no lights on, and Orland had the girl up against a wall with his hands near her chest.
Smith reported the incident in July 2010, but instead of calling police or the DCFS, school administrators investigated on their own. Orland was given a warning, but the warning was kept a secret even from the assistant principal, who later said he should have been told. For a year, Orland was allowed to give dozens of hall passes to girls to get them alone and to go on an overnight band trip, where he had sexual relations with a student.
The district, chastened, has made some security changes, including adding more security cameras.