An Illinois choir teacher and local teachers union boss convicted of groping teens during drinking parties at his home avoided jail last week after alleging he’s “truly sorry” for the appalling behavior.
“I have let a lot of people down,” Justin Hubly, choir director at Crystal Lake Central High School, acknowledged at his sentencing on Friday, according to the Northwest Herald.
Hubly, a teacher at the school for 13 years who served as president of the District 155 Education Association, was sentenced by McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt to one year of court supervision and $2,000 in fines for a total of six criminal charges.
During the sentencing for two counts of battery and four counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor, Hubly’s attorney Henry Sugdon described the victims as “prima donnas” and characterized the ordeal as “nonsense caused by minors.”
The Herald reports:
The charges stemmed from claims that the former teacher hosted get-togethers at his Crystal Lake home, where he provided groups of mostly 19-year-olds with tequila and rum, and on two occasions, allegedly inappropriately touched young women.
Parents of the women Hubly was accused of groping said they believe he exploited his former teacher-student relationship with the then-19-year-olds after they graduated.
Because Hubly was facing misdemeanors, Wilbrandt did not allow the victims to read victim impact statements.
Two students testified they viewed Hubly as a friend and confidant and visited his home while on break from college. Both said Hubly plied them with alcoholic drinks then tried to get frisky.
“One said he put his hand down her shirt and the other said he forcibly kissed and groped her,” the Chicago Tribune reports.
Sugdon argued the teacher endured enough by losing his $82,000 per year job when he was forced to resign in 2016. McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Brette Dunbar pointed out the sexual assaults occurred many times “over the course of years … kid after kid after kid.
“This is not an isolated incident,” Dunbar said.
Regardless, Wilbrandt described the 36-year-old educator as “an excellent teacher” who “is entitled to a second chance,” a conclusion no doubt influenced by former colleagues and ex-students who submitted letters of support to the court.
The sentencing came with what’s called a conditional discharge, which means the four counts of providing alcohol to a minor will be wiped from the record if Hubly successful completes his court supervision.
When announcing the guilty verdict against Hubly in April, Wildbrandt said the teacher “crossed the sometimes blurry line between being a friendly mentor and becoming an active participant in his ex-students’ socially questionable activities.”
In addition to the fines and supervision, Hubly is also required to undergo a sex offender evaluation.