Cara Labus former Orland Park Illinois teacher & basketball coach pleads guilty to sexually preying on two then teen student sisters.
A former Orland Park, Illinois, teacher and basketball coach accused of up to 7 counts of sexual abuse has pleaded guilty to the lesser two counts of aggravated battery for preying upon two teen sisters according to reports.
Cook County, Illinois, Judge Kerry Kennedy sentenced the coach — 36-year-old Cara Labus — to 24 months of probation on Thursday after the female educator confessed to sexually preying upon the teen girls.
Labus is said to have met the Illinois teen sisters whom she would go on to sexually abuse when she was their basketball coach at Jerling Junior High School in Orland Park. The abuse reportedly began in 2008 the Chicago Sun Times reports.
Patch reports that Labus was arrested in January 2015 and accused of abusing the girls, who were 14 and 16 at the time of the alleged acts. It wasn’t until August, 2019, the junior high basketball coach was formally booked on three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse after a second victim, identified as the first victim’s sister stepped forward.
Labus molested the children during ‘sleepovers’ at the educator’s home. The Illinois teacher and coach is said to have used her home for sex encounters with the teen girls.
Former teacher does not have to register as a sex offender
For the past five years, Labus who lives in Joliet has been under electronic home monitoring, an alternative to jail. Labus was credited for 2,141 days of monitoring, according to the court.
On Thursday, Labus appeared virtually in court, where Circuit Judge Kerry M. Kennedy agreed to amend the charges on behalf of the state judge, who negotiated an agreement to lessen the charges to aggravated battery, with a 24-month sex offender probation.
The assistant state’s attorney said the decision came as Labus had no criminal background prior to the sexual abuse allegations. The former teacher does not have to register as a sex offender, according to the victim’s attorney, Dominick Dolci.
Judge Kennedy told Labus if she violates her probation, she could face a year of ‘mandatory supervised release,’ similar to parole, along with also being fined up to $25,000.
‘You are a predator. You definitely took advantage of these two young ladies. They’re 14 years old and suffering from the loss of their father and you just took advantage of it,’ Kennedy told Labus in court.
According to CBS Chicago, the closure of the criminal proceedings will open the door for civil cases against Labus and the Orland Park School District 135 to proceed.
The school district has disputed litigation claims stating that the Illinois superintendent called the teacher and coach immediately to tell her to quit sexually abusing the teen girls. The teacher did not.
School district failure
The school district declined to lodge a complaint with the Orland Park police department nor was DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) called to report the allegations. As a result of the district’s failure to lodge a complaint and launch an investigation, the abuse went on for three more years according to the victims’ attorney, Gene Hollander.
An Illinois victim’s advocate attended the virtual hearing on Thursday and reported that the sisters accepting the terms of Labus’ plea deal. However, they consented in part because their former coach would not likely have served time in prison for what she did to them when they were teens because of credit for time served while on monitoring.
Statements read in court from the victims accused Labus of ruining their childhood and scarring them for life.
Both sisters, now adults in their 20’s, said that Labus’ abuse has had lasting impact, causing them to struggle with mental health issues, drugs, and their ability to trust people.
‘A teacher and coach is supposed to protect kids, not abuse them,’ one of the victims said in her statement.
‘I will not let my abuse define me,’ the woman wrote. ‘I will let it define you.’