UPDATED: Danville middle school music volunteer accused of sexually abusing teen boy

UPDATED: Danville middle school music volunteer accused of sexually abusing teen boy

DANVILLE — The artistic director of the Beef House Dinner Theatre and a longtime volunteer with Danville’s North Ridge Middle School music program is behind bars for allegedly sexually abusing a teenage boy in 2011.

Public Safety Director Larry Thomason said David J. Woodrow, 41, of Danville, was arrested on a preliminary charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

He is currently in the Vermilion County Jail, and expected to appear in circuit court Wednesday. His bond has not yet been set.

Thomason said the charges stem from an incident in 2011 when the victim was 15 years old. The victim is now 22.

Woodrow is a manager at the Beef House Restaurant in Covington, Ind. He also serves as the resident artistic director of its popular dinner theater, while his wife, Jennifer, is its musical director. They are currently co-directing “Newsies,” which runs through July 25.

Jennifer has been the chorus instructor at North Ridge and director of the award-winning Redcoats and Radiant Reds show choirs since 2003.

In a story about being named a finalist for the 2016 Illinois Teacher of the Year award, which ran in The News-Gazette in October 2015, Jennifer Woodrow said she and her husband collaborate on performances by the show choirs and the school’s theater company, with David Woodrow serving as assistant director.

Danville schools Superintendent Alicia Geddis and board President Bill Dobbles said David Woodrow has never been employed by the district.

Geddis said the North Ridge Music Boosters contracted with Woodrow to assist with choreography in the past.

“That contract has ended,” she said, adding that Woodrow isn’t a volunteer in the district either.

Geddis said the school district is required by law to do background checks on all volunteers.

“For the new school year, we asked the board back in May to take our background checks to a higher level of scrutiny for those volunteers whose interaction with children is such that the students would be unable to determine the difference between an employee and a volunteer,” the superintendent added.

In April 2013, David Woodrow ran unsuccessfully for one of four open seats on the school board. In an interview with The News-Gazette, Woodrow said he would bring “the unique perspective of someone who is active in the middle schools and high school on a regular basis. I hear the voice of the students, parents and teachers as I collaborate with them on a wide range of projects. 

“I see first-hand what is working and what needs to be addressed. The job of a middle school or high school student is far more difficult than most adults realize. I want to represent the voice of these hardworking students. They often have the best solutions to the problems facing the education system.”

Woodrow was one of Central Illinois Business magazine’s Forty Under 40 winners in 2014. In his bio, Woodrow said he assisted with events for Danville Light Opera, East Central Illinois Dyslexia Center, Arts in the Park, Festival of Trees, Danville High School, Danville Symphony Orchestra and the Vermilion County Rape Crisis Center.

Of his proudest professional accomplishment, he said, “Through my career and community involvement, I have the good fortune of mentoring and directing hundreds of students each year. Watching these young people succeed and being proud of their accomplishments is always a proud moment for me.”

Sections (2):News, Local