A former Oswego High School teacher convicted of sexually abusing a 17-year-old former student was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday.
16th Circuit Judge John Barsanti handed down the sentence, following Fry’s conviction in July of 2011, according to Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis. Fry, 57, of Woodridge, was originally charged with having sexual relations with a student while on school property in 2009, and was found guilty of two counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of criminal sexual assault.
In addition to his five-year sentence, of which he must serve 85% before being considered for release, Fry was fined $1,165, Weis said. Fry will receive credit for the 359 days he has already served in jail. After his release, Fry must serve a period of mandatory supervised release for a minimum of three years, and must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Fry’s relationship with his student began in February of 2009, on the girl’s 17th birthday, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Nemura Pencyla. Fry obtained the girl’s cell phone number and began texting her, and the relationship escalated when he kissed the girl in a school elevator in March 2009, prosecutors said.
On Sept. 10, 2009, Fry forced the girl to perform a sex act after school in his classroom, prosecutors said. A school custodian walked in during the incident and said she witnessed Fry tucking in his shirt and buttoning his pants. Fry told the custodian that he and the girl had been placing items on a high shelf, and his shirt had come untucked.
The victim came forward with allegations of the abuse in February of 2010, and Oswego police collaborated with District 308 and the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services on the investigation. Fry was immediately placed on leave, and resigned shortly thereafter, according to Oswego police.
Prosecutors pointed to a string of more than 700 text messages between Fry and the victim, in which Fry declared his love for the victim. Fry’s former attorney, Phil Nathe, said that the victim admitted to being in love with Fry, and suffered from depression and low self-esteem.
Weis said that the victim described "how Fry abused his position of trust to commit the crime," and said she "feels violated and remains greatly affected by his actions."
After his conviction, Fry hired a new lawyer, Larry Wechter of Geneva, who attempted to delay sentencing and requested a new trial. In May, Fry suggested in court that his battle with erectile dysfunction was a factor that was never brought forward in his trial, and could have played a role in his defense.
At that time, Barsanti continued the case to Thursday. He had the option of ruling that a new trial was warranted, or sentencing Fry, and he chose to sentence him.
Fry developed close ties to several students during his time at OHS, Weis said, but this relationship “developed into something more and eventually crossed the line,” he said.
“This case should serve as an example to other victims of sexual or physical abuse to come forward,” Weis said. “The criminal justice system depends on the cooperation and support of the victim and their families. If any person has been or is the victim of physical or sexual abuse, they should immediately contact law enforcement.”
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