Lincoln teacher charged in sexual assault of student www.privateofficer.com
LINCOLN IL March 30 2011 — A Lincoln Community High School teacher has been formally charged with multiple sexual assault and sexual abuse charges involving a student.
Douglas Benz, 43, an English teacher, freshman football coach and assistant coach in other sports at LCHS, on Monday was charged by Logan County State’s Attorney Michael McIntosh’s office with four counts of criminal sexual assault and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
The counts pertain to offenses that allegedly took place between Aug. 1, 2010, and Jan. 31 between Benz and the alleged victim, a female high school student who “was at least 13 years of age but under 18 years of age” when the alleged offenses occurred, according to court documents.
The specific charges include fondling and touching for sexual gratification, as well as sexual penetration.
LCHS superintendent Rob-ert Bagby said Wednesday morning, a day after Benz was arrested, that the teacher and coach had been placed on administrative leave. Bagby declined to say if Benz was on paid or unpaid leave.
Criminal sexual assault, a Class 1 felony, is punishable upon conviction of up to 15 years in prison, two years of mandatory supervised release and a possible $25,000 fine. Criminal sexual assault also carries with it two sentencing provisions, the first of which states that “upon conviction of this offense, defendant shall not be sentenced to a period of probation, a term of periodic imprisonment or conditional discharge,” while the second provision states, “upon conviction of this offense, any sentence imposed on this count shall be served consecutive to any other sentence of imprisonment.”
“Criminal sexual assault is a Class 1 felony not eligible for probation due to the nature of the offense,” assuming that the (defendant) is found guilty, said Logan County assistant state’s attorney Jonathan Wright, who is handling the case.
Criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony, and if found guilty, the offender can face up to a maximum of seven years in prison and a possible fine of $25,000. The minimum punishment, if found guilty, is 48 months of probation.
Wright said a criminal sexual abuse conviction can carry with it the $25,000 fine, but the fine is not mandatory.
Circuit Judge Thomas Harris ruled Monday during a brief court hearing that probable cause exists to support the charges against Benz.
Benz, who was arrested by Lincoln police at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday at a Springfield hotel, said he would be hiring an attorney.
He is scheduled for another court appearance with legal counsel at 11 a.m. today.
Benz remains in custody at the Logan County Jail. His bond has been set at $100,000.