Ex-Urbana school officials charged in Jon White sex abuse case
Former teacher Jon White, seen here in February, is serving a 60-year prison term after admitting he sexually abused young girls in Urbana and at Colene Hoose Elementary School in Normal. (Pantagraph file photo/David Proeber) DAVID PROEBER

BLOOMINGTON - Three former Urbana school officials face criminal charges for failing to report suspected child abuse by Jon White, a former Unit 5 and Urbana elementary teacher now serving a 60-year prison term for molesting young girls in both districts. | Unit 5, Urbana districts sued by White abuse victim

Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz filed the misdemeanor counts against former Urbana school Superintendent Gene Amberg, former Thomas Paine Elementary School Principal Janice Bradley and Carmelita Thomas, the district's human resources director.

White pleaded guilty in April to sexually abusing eight students at Paine in Urbana and two students at Colene Hoose Elementary School in Normal.

The criminal charges accuse the school officials of failure to follow rules as mandated reporters of suspected child abuse and neglect. The three had an obligation to tell the state Department of Children and Family Services about White's conduct with students, according to charges.

The misdemeanor charges carry a possible penalty of 364 days in the county jail.

No criminal charges are pending against any school officials in McLean County.

"Each situation is unique and totally different," McLean County State's Attorney Bill Yoder said Thursday about the Champaign and McLean County cases.

Local school officials are not expecting criminal charges in the White case.

"We have no indication or reason to believe any such charges will be filed in McLean County," said Unit 5 Superintendent Gary Niehaus.

The criminal case comes on the heels of a civil lawsuit filed in federal court by an Urbana second-grader and her mother against White and both school districts.

The child, identified as Jane Doe 2, and her mother, Julie Doe 2, are seeking $1 million each from White and the Normal-based Unit 5 and Urbana school districts.

Unit 5 defendants in the civil action include former Hoose Principal Jim Braksick; current Hoose Principal Ed Heinemann and John Pye, the district's assistant superintendent of operations and human resources.

The student lawsuit accuses Urbana and Unit 5 officials of failing to report inappropriate conduct by White as required by law. Unit 5 is cited for allegedly passing White to the Urbana district without disclosing problems behind White's departure from the McLean County district.

Phyllis Coulter and Associated Press contributed to this report.


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