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Local

Breaking: Will County judge lowers bond for former teacher charged with sex abuse

Former Braidwood teacher's bond reduced by 75 percent

Dayna Chidester, 50, Manhattan
Dayna Chidester, 50, Manhattan

A Will County judge lowered the $1 million bond by 75 percent for a former school teacher accused of sexual abuse, and her attorney expects she’ll be able to post it for her release.

At a court hearing Monday, Will County Judge Dave Carlson lowered the bond for Dayna Chidester, 50, of Manhattan, from $1 million to $250,000. Chidester’s attorney originally had requested her bond be lowered to $100,000.

Carlson noted the most serious charge against Chidester, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, is an offense that can be punishable by probation. He said a pre-trial risk assessment score for Chidester put her at 1 out of 14, making her a low-risk defendant.

Carlson didn’t think the $100,000 bond was appropriate and decided to set the bond at $250,000. Chidester will have to post 10 percent to be released from jail, and she is not to have contact with minors younger than the age of 18 when she is released.

“I anticipate she’ll be able to post that,” said Steve Haney, Chidester’s attorney.

Chidester’s next court hearing was scheduled for March 13.

Chidester has been charged with engaging in numerous sexual acts with a 14-year-old boy between Oct. 1 and Dec. 27. She also was charged with using a cellphone to groom the alleged victim.

Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Jeffrey Brown has argued the $1 million bond set for Chidester was appropriate because of the nature of her offenses.

In September, Chidester and the boy communicated with each other via text messages that became sexual in nature, Brown said, and Chidester and the boy also exchanged nude photos. Brown said child pornography charges may be forthcoming against Chidester, but further investigation is pending.

Chidester resigned from her teaching position at Reed-Custer High School in Braidwood because of an unrelated issue before she was arrested.

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