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Embattled ex-coach can take sons trick-or-treating
By Christy Gutowski | Daily Herald Staff

Michael P. Cardamone

 

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Published: 10/28/2009 1:14 PM | Updated: 10/28/2009 9:16 PM

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A former Aurora gymnastics coach accused of inappropriately touching seven students may take his two sons trick-or-treating on Halloween with proper supervision.

Prosecutors agreed Michael P. Cardamone should be allowed to be with his children, ages 4 and 5, while they trick-or-treat 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday in Naperville as long as they are with another adult who accompanies them.

Cardamone, 32, who wears an electronic monitoring device, has been free on a $550,000 bond since January after his initial conviction was overturned.

He is awaiting a new trial.

Cardamone has repeatedly sought access to take his sons to the park or to attend their sporting or school events where other children are present. DuPage Circuit Judge Blanche Hill Fawell has allowed such access as along as another adult is with him to supervise.

Prosecutors earlier accused him of violating his bond while taking his sons to places such as Chuck E. Cheese and to see the Easter Bunny. They did not fight his latest request regarding Halloween.

Cardamone had pleaded not guilty to child sexual assault and perjury allegations. He is living with family in Oswego and is barred from having contact with his accusers, all of whom live in the Aurora and Naperville area.

He has fought the allegations since his initial arrest in late 2002.

"I have been deprived and lost too much because of false accusations, rumors and a sensationalized story," Cardamone told the Daily Herald. "My children deserve a normal and healthy life and relationship with me as their dad."

He continued: "I will without consequence or opinion continue to fight for my innocence. This nightmare has plagued much in my life. All I seek is justice for myself and my family."

A DuPage County jury convicted him in 2005 of inappropriately touching seven girls, then ages 7 to 14, at his family's Aurora gymnastics facility. He was acquitted of charges involving seven other former students, and more serious predatory offenses.

In March 2008, an appeals court overturned Cardamone's conviction and ordered a new trial. The court found the trial judge, who was not Fawell, allowed too much testimony of uncharged allegations. Cardamone was serving a 20-year prison term before winning the new trial.

The higher court, though, upheld his harassment conviction relating to a 911 call on July 7, 2004, in which he reported a possible drunken driver who turned out to be one of his accuser's mothers. Earlier this year, prosecutors charged him with perjury after alleging he lied while testifying about the 911 call.