Ex-Reed-Custer teacher seeks bail re­duc­tion

Daily Southtown (Sunday) - - NEWS - Ali­cia Fab­bre is a free­lance re­porter. By Ali­cia Fab­bre

A for­mer teacher at Reed-Custer High School in Braid­wood who is charged with sex­ual abus­ing a 14-year-old boy re­mains in the Will County jail while a judge con­sid­ers a re­quest to lower her $1 mil­lion bail.

Dayna Chidester, 50, of Man­hat­tan, is charged with six counts of ag­gra­vated crim­i­nal sex­ual abuse and one count each of in­de­cent so­lic­i­ta­tion of a child and groom­ing. Pros­e­cu­tors said the teen she al­legedly abused was not a stu­dent at the same school where Chidester un­til re­cently worked as a fam­ily/ con­sumer sci­ence teacher.

Chidester’s at­tor­ney, Steven Haney, ar­gued Thurs­day that the $1 mil­lion bail was ex­ces­sive. He said Chidester has in­testi­nal, liver and men­tal health is­sues and ques­tioned whether the jail could pro­vide proper care.

“A $1 mil­lion bond is ex­tremely high,” Haney said.

Will County As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney Jeff Brown ar­gued that the bail was ap­pro­pri­ate given the cir­cum­stances of the case. He said Chidester be­gan tex­ting the teen in Septem­ber and the con­tact es­ca­lated quickly within a month to in­clude var­i­ous sex acts be­tween the two. At her bond hear­ing last week, Brown also al­leged that the two ex­changed nude pho­tos via text mes­sag­ing. He said child pornog­ra­phy charges may be added pend­ing fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Haney said Chidester’s fam­ily has made ar­range­ments for her to re­ceive men­tal health treat­ment if she is re­leased from jail.

Will County Judge David Carl­son took the re­quest un­der ad­vise­ment. Chidester is sched­uled to ap­pear be­fore Carl­son again Jan. 29.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from Reed-Custer Com­mu­nity Unit School Dis­trict Su­per­in­ten­dent Mark Mitchell, Chidester re­signed her po­si­tion from the high school last week, about two weeks after Braid­wood po­lice launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion based on a tip from a par­ent. The par­ent told a school re­source of­fi­cer that Chidester had been tex­ting a stu­dent about il­le­gal drugs, Mitchell said. No charges have been filed in con­nec­tion with the Braid­wood in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Chidester also taught at Thorn­wood High School in South Hol­land be­fore join­ing Reed-Custer, ac- cord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors.

Also Thurs­day, a for­mer Reed-Custer Com­mu­nity Unit School Dis­trict mu­sic teacher and Joliet band di­rec­tor who is charged with pos­ses­sion of child pornog­ra­phy asked Carl­son for per­mis­sion to use the in­ter­net to ap­ply for jobs.

Kevin Macha, 28, was ar­rested last month and charged with three counts of pos­ses­sion of child pornog­ra­phy. Macha was a mu­sic teacher at the ReedCuster dis­trict and be­gan di­rect­ing the Amer­i­can Le­gion Band in Joliet in 2017.

School board mem­bers ac­cepted Macha’s res­ig­na­tion Dec. 12 fol­low­ing a let­ter from the dis­trict ad­vis­ing him that school of­fi­cials would rec­om­mend he be dis­missed be­cause of his ar­rest, ac­cord­ing to dis­trict doc­u­ments. He taught grades 5 through 12.

Macha’s re­quest to use the in­ter­net in his job search was made by his at­tor­ney, Don­ald DeWilkins. As a con­di­tion of his bond, Macha is pro­hib­ited from go­ing on­line.

Carl­son re­as­signed the case to Judge Amy Ber­taniTom­czak, who will con­sider the re­quest. Macha is sched­uled to ap­pear in court again Tues­day.

Macha orig­i­nally is from New Lenox but now lives in Joliet.

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