URBANA -- Lawsuits against the McLean County School district and school administrators accusing them of "passing" convicted sex molester and former school teacher Jon White to the Urbana school district should not have been dismissed, according to an appellate court ruling.
The Fourth District Appellate Court ruled Friday that the lawsuits, filed on behalf of two Urbana students who were sexually abused by White, should not have been thrown out, and ordered the cases back to the trial court.
The appellate court found that the plaintiffs sufficiently alleged that McLean County school officials had a duty either to warn Urbana and its students of the danger posed by White, or to take reasonable precautions by reporting the abuse by White in McLean County to the Department of Children and Family Services.
White was convicted of molesting the two plaintiffs and other students in 2005 and 2006, when he taught second grade at Urbana's Thomas Paine Elementary School. He is serving a 60-year prison sentence for pleading guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse in connection with 10 victims – eight in Champaign County and two in McLean County.
Before being hired by Urbana, White taught elementary school in Normal from 2002 to 2005.
The lawsuit claims Normal school officials knew White had engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior with female students there, that they failed to report the abuse, and that they wrote a letter of recommendation for him to work in Urbana.