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Antioch teacher facing additional sex assault charges
By Charles Keeshan | Daily Herald Staff

Wes Owens

 

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Published: 10/23/2009 5:02 PM

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An Antioch Upper Grade School teacher accused of sexually assaulting a former student is now facing up to 60 years in prison after a McHenry County grand jury this week indicted him on three additional charges.

Wes L. Owens, 52, was indicted on four counts of criminal sexual assault and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse stemming from allegations he had four separate sexual encounters with the teenager.

The incidents, authorities said, occurred between March 1997, when the girl was 15 years old, and April 1999.

Owens also faces two counts of criminal sexual assault in Lake County stemming from incidents involving the same girl in that jurisdiction.

He initially faced only four charges in McHenry County when arrested last month. But a review of police reports and other evidence revealed more allegations from the former student, leading to the three added counts, said Nichole Owens, criminal division chief for the McHenry County State's Attorney.

Wes Owens first was arrested Sept. 4 by Lake County authorities after an investigation into a tip that he and the girl had an inappropriate relationship as far back as 1997.

The tip, authorities said, came from Kenneth Lee Johnson, 60, a former social studies teacher at Antioch Grade School who is now serving 31/2 years in state prison on child pornography charges.

Antioch Elementary District 34 placed Owens on paid administrative leave Aug. 31, pending the outcome of the investigation.

He is scheduled to be arraigned on the Lake County charges Wednesday and on the McHenry County case Nov. 9.