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Wauconda school official pleads guilty to domestic battery
By Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/17/2008 4:30 PM | Updated: 7/17/2008 4:30 PM

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Wauconda school board member Nicholas Batson was sentenced to 6 months in jail and 2 years probation Thursday after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor domestic battery charge.

Batson was facing up to 14 years in prison on two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for allegedly molesting a 14-year-old female relative at his Wauconda Township home on Dec. 5.

The Lake County State's Attorney's Office dropped one of the charges and negotiated the guilty plea for the lesser charge of domestic battery because there wasn't any DNA or other physical evidence supporting the sexual abuse allegations, Assistant State's Attorney Ken LaRue said.

"It's a he said, she said kind of case," LaRue said. "These cases are difficult (to prove) and people expect more nowadays."

LaRue said the victim's family was consulted about Batson pleading to the lesser charge.

Batson declined to comment Thursday.

Batson, 46, was elected to a 4-year term on the Wauconda Unit District 118 school board in 2005. He is a licensed pediatric physical therapist in Wisconsin and Illinois, and had been running a physical therapy clinic for children at his home.

He is also a former youth director for Wauconda Federated Church and has been a Special Olympics volunteer since 1987.

Defense attorney Ron Menaker told the judge Thursday Batson had received a lot of support from the community, the Wauconda school board and Special Olympics officials.

"This conduct to which he's acknowledged is bad, but in my mind he is not a bad person," Menaker said. "The school board has not discharged him."

Batson will serve 180 days in Lake County jail and perform 200 hours of public service. If he violates the probation, Batson would serve the maximum sentence of 1 year in jail.

Batson was ordered to have no contact with the victim, to write a letter of apology to the victim and pay $2,800 in restitution to the victim's family for therapy. He must undergo treatment for domestic violence and anger management.