Illinois Kindergarten Teacher Suspended for Letting Minors Consume Alcohol

An elementary school teacher in Illinois has been placed on administrative leave after allegedly allowing minors to consume alcohol at her home.

Wendy Bunnell, 39, faces two counts of allowing minors to drink alcohol at her residence, which carries a possible $1,000 fine.  Bunnell teaches at a local elementary school, while all of the students involved attend a separate high school.

According to the report, Bunnell allowed her 14-year-old to throw a party where as many as a dozen of his friends attended.  The police were informed that although Bunnell did not provide alcohol for the minors, she knew that they brought it to her house with the intention of consuming it.

As is commonplace these days, police learned of the alleged incident after the teens began talking about the party on Facebook and Twitter.  A concerned citizen reported the posts to a local detective, who brought the matter to the authorities.

Police brought some of the teens in for questioning, where a few of them exchanged testimony for immunity.

According to another report, Bunnell might have bigger issues to worry about.  A parent one of the teens alleges that her son has been suspended from sporting activities at the high school because it was a second violation of the Student-Athlete Honor Code.  The mother said she believed her child when he said that he hadn’t been drinking, and she feels her son is being targeted by the school because he allegedly engaged in a sex act with the kindergarten teacher.  The student in question is 17 years old, meaning that he is viewed as an adult under Illinois State Law, but the most recent allegations may make it more difficult for Bunnell to keep her job.

Bunnell is due in court on April 4.

Brett Appelman comments

This woman is being charged with a misdemeanor, so it is highly unlikely that she will go to jail for the charge of providing alcohol to minors.

However, many jobs, particularly jobs that involve working with children, have a contract with a “Morals Clause.”  These contracts can state that any action that makes the school “look bad” or puts the school in a “Bad Light” can be cause for suspension or termination.  This teacher may very well end up being fired for this incident.

Much more troubling is the allegation that she had sexual contact with one of the high school students.  It is currently merely an allegation, and she is presumed innocent of any illegal actions, but if she is ever charged criminally with sexual contact with a minor she will find it very difficult to secure a teaching position in the future.  An allegation of this nature will certainly make any potential school board very wary about hiring her.

Again, we stress that these are merely allegations, and she has not been charged with any sexual crimes, and that she is presumed innocent of any criminal actions.

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Traffic Stop Results in Two Drunken Driving Violations

Brenda G. Loth and Tami R. Lucibello of Naperville were arrested for driving under the influence after police pulled one of the vehicles over and the other driver stopped to wait for her friend.

The women, both 41, were driving back from a downtown bar around 1 a.m. when an officer spotted them committing lane violations and stop sign violations.  The officer pulled one of the vehicles over, which prompted the other woman to pull over to wait for her colleague.

After a short while, another officer appeared on the scene.  Both officers spoke with the women.

Lucibello allegedly told one of the officers that she and Loth had been at a downtown bar with workplace friends several hours earlier.  The women said they left the bar at the same time and began driving home together.

Loth lives in River Woods on Naperville’s southeast side, while Lucibello lives in the Windridge neighborhood on the city’s southwest side.

It was not reported who was pulled over first, but Loth was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, improper lane usage and disobeying a stop sign, while Lucibello was charged with driving under the influence, making an improper turn, and a license plate violation.

The women will also share a court date, as they are both scheduled in court for their arraignments on January 15.

Brett Appelman comments

Both of these women made a number of mistakes that night, aside from the simple fact that they drove while under the influence of alcohol.

When they were pulled over, they both admitted drinking, they both told the police that the other one had also been drinking, and they both committed small traffic violations which led to them being pulled over in the first place.

If you have been drinking and you get pulled over, the main thing to remember is to protect yourself by exercising your rights:

  • Your right to remain silent: do not speak to the police, except to say your name and address. Do not answer any questions about where you were, where you are going, or if you have had anything to drink.
  • Your right against self-incrimination: Do not take any sobriety tests. Do not stand on one leg, or walk a straight line, and certainly do not take the breath test.  You have the right to refuse these tests.

If you keep a calm head, and remember your rights, you can probably save yourself much of the troubles that these women got themselves into.

related source:  CBS Chicago

Naperville Man Arrested for Recording Video of Neighborhood Kids

naperville child pornLast month police raided the house of Renzo Barduagni – a resident of the Naperville’s Wildflower area and seized a large collection of child pornography.

Police reportedly seized many years of video recordings of neighborhood children and multiple high definition video cameras.

He is charged with the following:

  • 5 Counts of Aggravated Child Pornography – Possess Film/Photo
  • 1 Count of Unauthorized video recording – Victim under 18

Bail has been set at $300,000. He must produce $30,000 cash to be released before his hearing.

Barduagni is an Italian native who moved to Naperville 10 years ago on a work visa. According to neighbors, he lived in the house alone. With these charges, other residents of the neighborhood are obviously concerned that Barduagni may have recorded video footage of other children.

Brett Appelman Comments

I was personally approached by a few of the people that live in the neighborhood in which this case occurred.  Understandably they were angry and scared for their children.  They were wondering if more children had been videotaped by the defendant, and what they could do about it.

In any criminal case, it is important that everyone remain calm and think about possible consequences before they act.  Some of the neighbors wanted to confront the defendant should he be released on bail, others wanted to vandalize his house and cars.

I explained that vandalizing or damaging the defendant’s property was illegal, and would likely get some of them arrested.  We can all understand their feelings of wanting revenge against a man who had violated the neighborhood children.  But being angry is not a viable defense in criminal court.

The best thing to do in a case like this is to contact the prosecutor’s office and explain how upset you are at the defendant.  Tell the prosecutor that you and your neighbors will be in court every time the case comes up and that you will be watching to make sure the case is handled properly.

Another course of action is to call the press and tell them what is going on.  The best pressure that can be put on prosecutors is by reporters asking questions.

Within days the neighbors had spoken to multiple news stations and papers, and made this case a much bigger deal than it might have been without their intervention.

Naperville Woman Accused of Killing 2 Kids

Elzbieta Plackowska, a Naperville woman who is accused of murdering 2 children, is expected to plead insanity at her upcoming hearing.

Plackowska allegedly stabbed to death her son and another child whom she was babysitting. She has since confessed to both murders and is being charged with 1st degree murder.

Prosecutors in the case are now expecting an insanity plea from Plackowska and her attorneys. With that in mind, they are seeking to have Plackowska examined by a psychiatrist to determine whether or not she is insane in the legal sense of the term.

“Society uses the term ‘insanity defense’ quite often,” says Chicago Attorney Sean Sullivan. “It is referenced all the time in movies and on television. What exactly does a defense based on insanity mean?  Legally to be insane a person must not be able to understand the consequences of their actions. They are incapable of understanding the right and wrong of what they did. Most people will think that this woman must have been insane to kill her own child. Was she legally insane however? This is a difficult question that only a trained psychological professional can determine. She would be well served to have a defense attorney who is familiar with mental disease and illness.  Such mental health issues pose serious issues that must be resolved before this case can be tried properly.”

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