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Former OHS Teacher Found Guilty of Sexually Abusing Student

Improper relationship with 17-year-old girl took place over course of months.

A former language arts teacher was found guilty Thursday on two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and one count of criminal sexual assault after engaging in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female student dating back to March 2009.

Dale Fry, 56, of Woodridge, will face sentencing on all three counts at 1 p.m. Sept. 7 before 16thCircuit Court Judge John A. Barsanti, who found Fry guilty after a two-day bench trial this week. Fry was denied bond and immediately taken into custody by Kendall County Sheriff’s deputies.

During closing arguments Thursday, Kendall County Assistant State’s Attorney Nemura Pencyla said Fry abused his position as a teacher to enter into a relationship with the student.

“The defendant chose to abandon his responsibilities as a teacher and someone who is trusted to protect children,” Pencyla said.

The relationship between the two began in February 2009 on the girl’s 17th birthday when Fry obtained the girl’s cell phone number and began texting her, Pencyla said.

The relationship escalated when Fry kissed the girl in an elevator in the school in March 2009, prosecutors say. He kissed and fondled the girl’s breasts, again on school grounds, in May 2009, Pencyla said.

On Sept. 10, 2009, Fry forced the girl to perform a sex act after school in his classroom, Pencyla said. A school custodian walked in during the incident and said she witnessed Fry tucking in his shirt and buttoning his pants.

Fry told the custodian he and the girl had been placing items on a high shelf in the classroom and his shirt tail had become untucked.

Pencyla also pointed to a string of more than 700 text messages between Fry and the victim as evidence of an inappropriate relationship.

“Warning bells were clanging all over the place on this,” he said.

Defense attorney Phil Nathe argued the prosecution had not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt, saying Fry told the victim after their first kiss that physical contact was inappropriate.

Nathe said the victim admitted to being in love with Fry and that she suffered from depression and low self-esteem. Further, Nathe said it is not uncommon for teachers to electronically communicate with students, including through text message.

“There is no denying they were unique in terms of a student/teacher relationship,” Nathe said. “My client took an active role with his brightest students.”

The victim came forward with allegations of the abuse in February 2010, and Oswego police collaborated with and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services on the investigation.

Fry was immediatley placed on leave after the allegations surfaced and resigned shortly thereafter, according to Oswego police.

Editor's note: The sentencing date in this story has been changed.

 

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Jane Enviere August 06, 2011 at 12:03 AM
As with so many things in life, it's unfortunate that we need to legislate common sense. But, we obviously do. Along with many other issues, one of the reasons why I dislike social networking and don't participate on things like FB or Twitter is that it seems to encourage erasing boundaries, lines, and distinctions that are actually quite helpful in maintaining the integrity of various relationships. My friend is a surgeon and we were talking about how he has had patients try to "friend" him. He has ignored them and now his Facebook is locked down as tight as it can be. lol But really...what would possess an adult to attempt that kind of contact with his/her doctor? You're not friends. Not IRL and not in FB land.
Steven Jack August 25, 2011 at 02:34 PM
Hi folks. This story has been updated today. Sept. 7 is no longer the sentencing date. Find the latest info here. http://oswego.patch.com/articles/former-ohs-teacher-convicted-in-sexual-abuse-hires-new-attorney
Alyxandra Nicole Vogt August 27, 2011 at 01:00 AM
Russ your daughter I think actually has a completely intelligent and valid view on the subject, and you should be proud that she is that smart. Yes, both parties are at fault for this. Mr. Fry is the adult, he should have been the one taking the initiative to avoid such a situation but at the same time the girl also had every chance to not be involved at all. It was a decision she made, just because she's young does not make her completely void of responsiblity. 17 is a tough, especially in the town of Oswego where most of the kids there are always partying and having sex, and not always caught but plenty have done these things with adults that are on the school staff. It's the reason I hated the town the entire time I went there, and despised the high school the whole time I went there. And I want to point out, that I actually remember my senior year having a conversation with MR. FRY about how disgusted I was with the way the female students (and in general all the students) behaved and how completely ignorant everyone tended to be. You know what he did? He actually told me that he agreed, yes obviously he didn't mind giving in to the temptation of it when he had the chance but at the time that I knew him he agreed with my point of view and we had a great discussion and he actually bought me a senior present of Dante's The Inferno because he said it was an excellent college level book that I woud love. He was a great teacher, who simply made a poor choice in judgement
Sheep September 13, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Hello Mike, I made an account simply to reply to your post. I graduated from Oswego High in 2006 and the similarities between your experience and mine is startling. I too would like to preface this with my complete devastation upon hearing the conviction of Mr. Fry. This devastation does not come because I advocate his release, or even that I think he was innocent, but rather because of the positive influence that he had in my life. Much like you, I studied, and am currently studying, philosophy because of the influence that Mr. Fry had on me on an academic level. In fact, when I first met Fry I was an intelligent student, but wholly an underachieving one. I remember, vividly, one of the first days that I was in one of his classes (I had him for at least 5 classes) when he reprimanded me for underachieving in his course. His methods were unorthodox, to say the least, but this pseudo-berating is one of the pivotal moments of my high school career when I reflect. Had it not been for Fry, I would have never seen academia (and my success in it) as a marvel to behold. With all of that being said, I can't emphasize enough how disappointed I am in the man that was so central in my development intellectually, and how poorly I feel for the victim(s). Nobody should have to experience what these poor women have, but just as tragic is that for each student that he irreversibly harmed, there are five that recall an experience similar to ours when they reflect on Dale Fry.
Pam March 07, 2012 at 07:16 PM
March 9th sentencing delayed. No new date known.

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