Testimony about a relationship with an 18-year-old student should be barred from the upcoming trial of
James B. Guttridge, 38, of the 8000 block of Slater Drive in Rockford, has been charged with one count of criminal sexual assault and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, according to court documents filed in
Authorities allege that Guttridge had inappropriate sexual contact more than once with the underage student during the 2008-09 school year at the high school. The girl later came forward to police, according to authorities.
Defense attorney Terry Ekl asked
Although it was not a criminal offense because she was 18 at the time, it violated school policy. His actions with her were a "striking" parallel to actions taken with the 14-year-old and led to "sexual activity with both girls," said Charles Colburn, a special prosecutor from the state appellate prosecutor's office in Springfield, which is handling the case.
Colburn said that Guttridge took advantage of the fact that both girls were from troubled homes. He alleged that Guttridge regularly drove the girls home and got them out of study hall, which is when he had inappropriate contact with each.
He "used his position as a teacher and superiority to groom them," Colburn said.
Prosecutors also want to use evidence regarding lewd comments Guttridge allegedly made to a food service worker at the school.
The food service worker also would testify that Guttridge showed her a closet where he allegedly had sex with the other student, Colburn said.
Condon said he would decide whether to allow the testimony by Friday, June 1. The trial is scheduled to start June 11.
Guttridge has since resigned from Woodstock Community Unit School District 200, a district official confirmed on Friday.
Guttridge was hired at the district in 2000 to teach physical education and coach wrestling, according to school officials.