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In sexual misconduct suit, state rep candidate said female student was responsible for relationship with teacher –

February 29, 2016   ·   7 Comments

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URBANA –

Legislative candidate Jim Acklin of Ogden countered a former high school student’s sexual misconduct suit against the school district he once led by blaming her.

“Plaintiff was under a duty to use care and caution for her own safety and well being” while at St. Joseph-Ogden High School, lawyers for then-superintendent Acklin and the district school board argued in 2012.

They argued that the student, then a 15 year old freshman, concealed facts from school officials and deceived them when they asked about her relationship with high school coach Jon Jamison.

They held her responsible for most or all of the negligence that harmed her.

Acklin and the district won the case in Champaign County circuit court in 2014, arguing that Jamison passionately kissed and caressed, but did not have sexual intercourse with the student.

“The dissimilarity between kissing and having some sort of oral contact with or penetration of the sex organs is self evident,” they argued.

Circuit judge Jeffrey Ford agreed that under Illinois Code, “None of the alleged acts by the plaintiff fit the definitions of sexual conduct or sexual penetration.”

The school district settled the claims for $6,500.

Meanwhile, in a case involving another student, Jamison pled guilty to a charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim between ages 13 and 18.

While the lawsuit brought by Jane Doe received widespread media attention when it was filed, the responses of Acklin’s and the school board’s did not. The Record reviewed the entire case file on Feb. 21 and 22.

Acklin currently seeks the Republican nomination for State Representative in the 102nd District, which includes Paris, Shelbyville, Sullivan, and Tuscola.

According to a Champaign News-Gazette article on Jamison’s arrest in February 2012, Acklin once coached Jamison on the high school cross country team. In Danville Commercial-News, an announcement of Jamison’s Dec. 2005 wedding identified Acklin as a groomsman and his son, John Acklin, as ring bearer.

Jamison’s wife divorced him after his arrest.

The civil lawsuit

In May 2012, lawyers Thomas Bruno and Dennis Mickunas of Champaign sued the district and Acklin on behalf of “Jane Doe.”

“Jamison was incompetent, unfit, and dangerous for employment,” they wrote.

They also named as defendants Chad Uphoff, St. Joseph-Ogden High School principal in 2006-07, and Brian Brooks, the school’s principal in 2007-08.

The suit claimed that Uphoff and Brooks investigated allegations by another girl’s parent, but didn’t report them as required by law to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Attorney Mike DeBartolo of LaGrange, who has represented school districts for 16 years, said that if credible evidence of abuse, neglect or sexual assault are presented to school officials those must be reported to the DCFS.

He said that while judgment calls are made in these situations, it is better to “err on the side of caution” when allegations are made, not only to protect interests of the school, but more importantly to protect the student.

“If they truly think it didn’t happen or there was an ax to grind, you better be on solid ground,” DeBartolo said.

He also said that because the record shows that Acklin had a personal relationship with Jamison, he should have recused him from making any determination about the credibility of Doe’s accusations.

“He should have handed it off,” he said.

According to Doe’s attorneys, Acklin, Uphoff and Brooks concealed the allegations from students and parents.

In the suit, they wrote that Jamison flirted with Jane Doe, sent her suggestive messages and made suggestive calls, kissed her passionately, and rubbed her thigh. He was also accused of providing Doe with alcohol and that he drank with her more than once.

Brooks confronted Jane Doe, then age 15, and she . . . continue reading at the Madison Record (HERE) . . .

Jim-Acklin

Acklin

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Readers Comments (7)

  1. "Dr. Laura" says:

    All I can say is, DORIAN – WAKE UP! Earth to Dorian – WAKE UP ! I suspect your mental lapse will require meds, which you can find in isle #3. Defending an adult, in a position of trust – a teacher – who allegedly gets horny for his15 yr old student? And, if you say you are not defending the alleged perp – you’re just making a point about the consenting ability of a 15yr old, then 1 – you are an idiot, and 2 – there’s probably another, untold reason – that we really don’t want to know – why you believe that 15 yr olds are ok to pet and to solicit. Please, get out of your mom’s basement and get down to the nearest police department and REGISTER !

     Reply
  2. Dorian says:

    A 15 year old actively and knowingly engaging in illegal conduct in any other arena will be held completely accountable. Often as an adult. Why are they treated like infants in this circumstance?

     Reply
    • jmkraft says:

      “Position of Trust” – Please tell me you are not defending the teacher/coach who is now a registered Child Predator. Please tell me you are not defending the administration who failed their duty to report the abuse.

       Reply
      • Dorian says:

        A 15 year old is not a child. My great-grandmother was 15 when she got married. If anything, the onset of puberty today is a year earlier than in those days.

        If this same teacher, in the same ‘position of trust’ had talked the same student into cooking meth and in the process had killed another person, not only would this 15 year old student be 100% held criminally responsible, but most likely as an adult.

        If this 15 year old student had killed this teacher for his wallet, on the very day of the incident, this 15 year old would be, on the same day, mind you, be a victim of child s3xual abuse and an adult defendant for murder. On the same day.

        I fail to see why complicit persons are completely absolved in this arena, and this arena only. No, this teacher’s conduct is not appropriate, but why this sort of thing is a strict liability offense without any mitigating circumstances taken into account befuddles me.

        If you think that it is appropriate to label someone a “Sexual Predator” for life for the non-forcible kissing and touching the thigh of a person old enough to be prosecuted as an adult we will just have disagree. I realize that the rest of this country – which, come to think of it, has no problem shredding children to bits with drones dropped from appropriately named ‘Predator’ drones – does, but that does and will not stop me from attempting to calm down the hysteria a bit.

         Reply
  3. Mr. Kotter says:

    I concur with “Mike”.

    I noted that the school resource officer was involved in “one of the meetings.” What does that mean? Also, Brooks was alleged to have been accusatory in his initial interview / interrogation of the young lady. The police should have been involved in or handled that initial interview. It amazes me how, when someone knows they have a conflict, they “hand off” to someone whom they supervise or have an equal standing with – thus – not abating the conflict at all. I would hope the ONLY reason Jamison wasn’t fired was that the school district’s attorney, or the State Board of Education’s attorney told them that they didn’t have sufficient reason – which, in itself, is unconscionable and deserving of the changes recommended by “Mike”.

     Reply
  4. Mike says:

    If the Illinois School Code permits teachers and educators to “passionately kiss and caress” students 17 and under, then the school code should be modified by legislators and the Governor.

    How about modifying (105 ILCS 5/21B-75).

    In particular the section for “unprofessional conduct.”

    Kissing a student 17 or under on the lips by a teacher or administrator would be considered by most people (I hope) to be unprofessional conduct, in particular considering the teacher or administrator is in a position of trust or authority.

    Here is part of what is included in 21B-75 for “unprofessional conduct.”

    “Unprofessional conduct shall include the refusal to attend or participate in institutes, teachers’ meetings, or professional readings or to meet other reasonable requirements of the regional superintendent of schools or State Superintendent of Education.

    Unprofessional conduct also includes conduct that violates the standards, ethics, or rules applicable to the security, administration, monitoring, or scoring of or the reporting of scores from any assessment test or examination administered under Section 2-3.64a-5 of this Code or that is known or intended to produce or report manipulated or artificial, rather than actual, assessment or achievement results or gains from the administration of those tests or examinations.

    Unprofessional conduct shall also include neglect or unnecessary delay in the making of statistical and other reports required by school officers.”

    http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=010500050K21B-75

    http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs.asp > Education > Chapter 105 Schools > Common Schools > 105 ILCS 5/ School Code > Article 21B Educator Licensure > Sec. 21B-75 Suspension or revocation of license.

    —————

    In Illinois it’s legal for teachers and administrators to have sex with an 18 year old high school student.

    That’s a related area that should be changed.

    Sex with an 18 year old high school student is also unprofessional conduct by a teacher or administrator in a position of trust or authority.

     Reply
  5. Mike says:

    It is legal for teachers and administrators to kiss students aged 17 & under on the lips in Illinois?

     Reply




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