Will County State's Attorney Spokesman Charles Pelkie said Wednesday that Ryan P. Gardner, 40, was charged Tuesday with harassment by telephone in connection with a Dec. 6 call. The charge alleges Gardner made the call "with the intent to threaten, abuse or harass" Thomas Eddy, an assistant superintendent.
Gardner, who taught vocational education for nine years at the high school, entered the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago for psychiatric care. Pelkie said Gardner was living with his parents in Danville.
Will County court records show Gardner was convicted in 2005 on three counts of harassment by phone in connection with a December 2004 incident. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail and a suspended 24-month sentence, and ordered to undergo alcohol-abuse and mental health treatment. He was also charged in 2007, but not convicted, of phone-related harassment. Pelkie said Gardner's previous activities involved school officials.
Glasgow "is extraordinarily concerned by these allegations and worked personally on this case," Pelkie said, adding the state's attorney "moved quickly as possible to make sure the students were safe, and school officials as well."
Pelkie said the office had reports Gardner "made threats, saying a minister had given him permission to shoot someone. He said he was going to acquire a gun."
Police in Vermillion County - where Danville is located - have been investigating Gardner's activities, Pelkie said, declining to say whether Gardner had access to weapons.
"Given what happened in Connecticut last week, we can't take anything for granted," Pelkie said.
Lincoln-Way School District Community Relations Director Stacy Holland said Gardner taught at the Lincoln-Way Central from 1996 to 2003.
When an incident occurs, "we contact the sheriff's police," she said, noting the district's four high schools are under the Will County sheriff's jurisdiction. The sheriff has also assigned a school resource officer to each facility, Holland said.
In the meantime, the state's attorney's office has been in touch with campus police at the UIC. "We will be aware when he is discharged from the hospital," Pelkie said, "and he'll be arrested upon his release." Bail is set at $750,000.
Harassment by telephone is a Class 4 felony carrying a sentencing range of up to three years in prison.