By Jeff Long
Tribune staff reporter
A McHenry High School teacher is scheduled to appear in court Thursday on charges that she had oral sex with a 17-year-old male student and gave him and two other students alcohol, officials said Monday.
Laura Sieradzki, 32, of Palatine, has been charged with two sex-related counts and two counts of piercing the bodies of minors during separate incidents in March.
"We entrust our children to teachers," said McHenry County State's Atty. Lou Bianchi. "It makes it more egregious to me when you see these incidents involving teachers."
On March 15, Sieradzki pierced the nipples of two female students, whose ages were not available, prosecutors said. She is accused of performing oral sex on the male student in a vehicle near Wonder Lake on March 29, according to Nichole Owens, chief of the criminal division of the McHenry County state's attorney's office.
Sieradzki was charged with supplying the three students with alcohol on those days, according to authorities.
Officials say the incidents involved students who attend the West Campus of McHenry High School, where Sieradzki taught for two years until she was placed on paid leave Thursday.
If she is convicted, Sieradzki faces between 4 and 15 years in prison for the most serious charge, criminal sexual assault, which stems from her being in a position of authority as a teacher.
Sieradzki could not be reached for comment on Monday. She posted $20,000 bail on Saturday, the day after she was booked into the McHenry County Jail following the investigation by the sheriff's office.
She earns a $41,000 salary as a special education teacher, said Phil Hintz, superintendent of McHenry Community High School District 156.
Owens did not know whether the students involved were in Sieradzki's class and Hintz would not say. This is Sieradzki's second year as a teacher in the district, Hintz said.
"She's been removed from the classroom, pending the results of the investigation, the police and our own," Hintz said. School officials notified police and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services when they heard of the alleged incidents, Hintz said.
But he would not say when officials first heard about them or what other actions were taken between what reportedly happened in March and the teacher's arrest last week.
Counseling is available to students and families who have been affected by the incidents, he said.
"We're required by law to do a criminal background check," Hintz said. Asked if anything turned up in Sieradzki's background, he said, "Obviously not."