Former D131 Principal Found Guilty For Failing To Report Child Abuse

Former D131 Principal Found Guilty For Failing To Report Child Abuse

A second former East Aurora School District 131 employee has been found guilty for failing to report suspected child abuse and neglect as required by law.

Kane County Circuit Judge Michael Noland found 42-year-old Matthew Willigman guilty of the offense of failure to report child abuse as a mandated reporter, Class A misdemeanor.

Willigman waived his right to a jury trial.

Kane County Assistant State’s Attorneys Sarah Seberger and Matthew Rodgers presented evidence that in March 2018, Willigman, then the principal at O’Donnell Elementary School in Aurora, having reasonable cause to believe that a child known to him in his professional capacity was possibly an abused child, failed to make a report of the suspected abuse to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

As a principal, Willigman is designated by Illinois’ Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act to be a mandated reporter of abuse and neglect of children and is required to immediately report suspected abuse and neglect to Illinois DCFS.

In October, a Kane County jury found Elizabeth Aguilar guilty of the same offense. Aguilar was a teacher at Bardwell Elementary School in District 131 at the time. A judge sentenced Aguilar to 1½ years of supervision and 150 hours of community service.

Noland set Willigman’s next court appearance for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 28, 2020, in Courtroom 005 at the Kane County Judicial Center for motions and sentencing. Willigman faces a sentence of up to 364 days in the Kane County jail.

Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said state law entrusts adults who work with children with the responsibility of looking out for the best interests of children.

“Mandated reporters who fail to follow through with this responsibility potentially put vulnerable children in danger by allowing abuse and neglect to continue,” he said. “Mandated reporters who reasonably believe that a child may have been abused or neglected must immediately call DCFS at 1-800-252-2873 to make a report. Any person may call about suspected abuse. If a report proves to be unfounded, the law provides immunity to the reporter if the report was made in good faith.”

SOURCE: Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office news release