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Former Larkin teacher accused of molesting student
by Harry Hitzeman | Daily Herald Staff

Ronald D. Suitts

 

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Published: 9/17/2008 12:02 AM

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A former Larkin High School German teacher faces prison time after being accused once again of molesting a student.

Ronald D. Suitts, 56, of 874 Schuler Ave., Elgin, is free on $10,000 bond after being charged with the criminal sexual assault of a 16-year-old-student about five years ago.

Suitts was arrested Friday at the Elgin police station after he went in for questioning, department spokeswoman Ann Dinges said.

Dinges said the alleged victim, now 22, had a combination of recorded telephone and in-person conversations with Suitts.

Dinges said it was unclear why she decided to come forward now.

The charge carries up to 15 years in prison upon conviction. Suitt is due in court on Sept. 19.

A phone message left at Suitts' home was not returned. But his attorney, Todd Cohen, said his client plans to fight the charges and plead "not guilty" after he's arraigned.

Cohen said he could not comment on the specifics of the case until he had reports from police, but added: "The whole circumstance - how long it's taken for a charge, for her to talk to police - is a little out of the ordinary."

An Elgin police statement said the woman told investigators specific times and locations she and Suitts had sex between fall 2002 and fall 2003.

Dinges said they occurred at "various locations" but could not answer whether that included Suitts' home, the high school or other locations.

The charges are not the first to be levied against Suitts, who started his career with Elgin Area School District U-46 in 1989.

That teaching career ended in January 2007, after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery after first being accused of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

As part of the deal Suitts was ordered to: surrender his teaching license; spend 60 days of home confinement; and attend sex offender counseling as part of a 24-month sex offender probation.

In the plea, Suitts acknowledged he inappropriately pressed his body against a student between Jan. 1, 2003, and July 1, 2004, while she was 15 and 16.

U-46 spokesman Tony Sanders said Suitts originally was suspended with pay in May of 2005, and then without pay effective September 2005.

Suitts ultimately resigned from the district in January 2007 and had not set foot in Larkin or any U-46 schools as of May 2005, Sanders said.

Suitts also coached the Larkin chess team and headed the school's cultural exchange program.

Daily Herald staff writer Kerry Lester contributed to this story.