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Former OHS Teacher Found Guilty of Sexually Abusing Student

Improper relationship with 17-year-old girl took place over course of months.

A former language arts teacher was found guilty Thursday on two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and one count of criminal sexual assault after engaging in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female student dating back to March 2009.

Dale Fry, 56, of Woodridge, will face sentencing on all three counts at 1 p.m. Sept. 7 before 16thCircuit Court Judge John A. Barsanti, who found Fry guilty after a two-day bench trial this week. Fry was denied bond and immediately taken into custody by Kendall County Sheriff’s deputies.

During closing arguments Thursday, Kendall County Assistant State’s Attorney Nemura Pencyla said Fry abused his position as a teacher to enter into a relationship with the student.

“The defendant chose to abandon his responsibilities as a teacher and someone who is trusted to protect children,” Pencyla said.

The relationship between the two began in February 2009 on the girl’s 17th birthday when Fry obtained the girl’s cell phone number and began texting her, Pencyla said.

The relationship escalated when Fry kissed the girl in an elevator in the school in March 2009, prosecutors say. He kissed and fondled the girl’s breasts, again on school grounds, in May 2009, Pencyla said.

On Sept. 10, 2009, Fry forced the girl to perform a sex act after school in his classroom, Pencyla 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 he and the girl had been placing items on a high shelf in the classroom and his shirt tail had become untucked.

Pencyla also pointed to a string of more than 700 text messages between Fry and the victim as evidence of an inappropriate relationship.

“Warning bells were clanging all over the place on this,” he said.

Defense attorney Phil Nathe argued the prosecution had not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt, saying Fry told the victim after their first kiss that physical contact was inappropriate.

Nathe said the victim admitted to being in love with Fry and that she suffered from depression and low self-esteem. Further, Nathe said it is not uncommon for teachers to electronically communicate with students, including through text message.

“There is no denying they were unique in terms of a student/teacher relationship,” Nathe said. “My client took an active role with his brightest students.”

The victim came forward with allegations of the abuse in February 2010, and Oswego police collaborated with and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services on the investigation.

Fry was immediatley placed on leave after the allegations surfaced and resigned shortly thereafter, according to Oswego police.

Editor's note: The sentencing date in this story has been changed.

 

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OHSClassof2001 July 24, 2011 at 06:59 PM
As a former student of his, I can guarantee you this was NOT a set up on the student's part. He was constantly leering at female students and I was never comfortable alone with him. After I graduated, he contacted me via email and attempted to strike up a little "relationship." I changed my email address and stopped going to football games in an attempt to avoid him. This story does not shock me at all.
patricia hish July 24, 2011 at 07:19 PM
Dear Student from 2001, So sorry that you had to go through such a horrible experience. It sounds as though you handle yourself in a very mature way, unlike the actions of Mr. Fry. I hope that you're enjoying all the wonderful moments that life has to offer. Please come out and enjoy this years football games, it looks as though varsity will have a good chance at state. Take Care.
Kicknbutt Taknnames July 25, 2011 at 04:53 PM
I take a personal interest in this as I know Mr. Dale Fry from when I was a teen and he was in his early 30's. I was also a victim to him. Unfortunately, unlike the brave and courageous girl in this story, I did not come forward. Maybe if I did, it would have spared other children from being a victim to Mr. Fry. I would like to first address Carol Anaski-Figurski post above. There is nothing a CHILD can do to provoke child predators into anything. It is something wrong with the adult (predator) not the child in any way. So for you to claim it was a set up, unless you been there and walked in the shoes of a victim to a predator, you have no clue on which you speak. I would now like to address the child and her family. I would first like to deeply apologize for what you have been through. I know this is something that you will be dealing with for many years to come. But I do hope you are in counseling and have found a really good counselor. There is a great life after abuse if only you find the right people to help you find the path to walk. It is a hard path to start to walk on as you will endour deep pain along the way, but afterwards when the pain diminishes, life because beautiful and full. Don't get me wrong, you will never forget what has been done to you, but you will learn to forgive...not for Mr. Fry's benefit but for your own. Through forgiveness you will heal. You are a very brave soul. I only wish years ago, I was as brave as you were.
Kicknbutt Taknnames July 25, 2011 at 04:56 PM
I truly and sincerely apologize for not being brave and courageous like you are. If maybe I have been long ago, you wouldn't be going through the times you are now. Stay strong though and know that you are never alone. Your family loves you and so do you friends. And know this more than anything else....THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT AT ALL!!!! There is nothing you could have done to stop this from happening....NOTHING. I will be praying for you and your family.
It all comes out in the wash July 25, 2011 at 05:44 PM
I knew there would be more. This type of predator never stops with just one. I'm sure his behavior described above was always to his famale students and not the male students. I hope that every single female that encountered his abuse comes forward so he has more charges. This pig should never be let out of jail. To the women who faced this creep, I hope you all seek help as this was not your fault at all. This creep had a motive and planned his next victim. Kickbutt, like most girls, teens, and women they don't report it for many reasons. I hope your ok today, scars like this never leave you. And for the lawyer who represented him, how do you even sleep at night?
patricia hish July 25, 2011 at 07:11 PM
I was told by a judge that our courts are full of laws not always justice. In this case the laws are on the victims side and justice will come when he goes to prison. There are codes of ethics that the prisoners' live by and a child molester is one that will get you in trouble. Some people will do anything for money. Hope that attorney doesn't have kids of his own, what goes around comes around. My heart goes out to all.
Kicknbutt Taknnames July 25, 2011 at 08:01 PM
It all comes out in the wash, There is always more in the woodworks. As you said, predators of this type never stops with just one episode. When I knew him, I don't believe he was a school teacher but I could be wrong on that. I was very surprised to see that he was one though but realized it made for "easy prey" in his eyes. Speaking of charges, I read in the Suntimes this story, that was the first I have heard of it. However, in the Suntimes it claimed that he is scheduled to be in court again on Sept 7. However, above it claims he is having his sentencing on Sept 2. I really want to be there, but I would like to make sure of the date. Does anyone really know the correct date and to confirm the court house? I am very ok, thank you. As you say, scars like this never leave you, but you can go on with a normal life. As I mentioned above, you will never forget but you will go on and be happy if you allow your loved ones in for support and you get the help you need to start the healing process.
Jillian Duchnowski July 25, 2011 at 08:26 PM
Kicknbutt, I believe it's the Kendall County Courthouse off Route 34. You can confirm the date, time and other particulars probably by calling the State's Attorney's Office at 630-553-4157 or the Circuit Clerk's office at 630-553-4183.
Steven Jack (Editor) July 25, 2011 at 08:31 PM
Thanks Jill. i just called to confirm the date. It is set for 1 p.m. Sept. 7. I believe the original date was the morning of Sept. 2, but was changed. The article has been changed to reflect the updated information. Thanks.
It all comes out in the wash July 25, 2011 at 08:32 PM
Thanks Jillian
Kicknbutt Taknnames July 26, 2011 at 04:03 AM
Thank you very much Jillian for the numbers and Steven for taking the time to check it out and confirm it. I will be planning on being there. I really do want to witness what Mr. Dale Fry ends up with.
Sexiie July 26, 2011 at 06:23 PM
Carol, you must have predatory tendencies. I hate when people say "a child initiated the sexual conduct due to the way they were acting". A child or a lady can walk down the street butt-azz naked and that does not give anyone the right to violate that person!!! I must agree, maybe the girl wanted this relationship, but even if correct HE SHOULD HAVE NOT ENGAGED HER DESIRES BECAUSE IF NOT ONE ELSE IN SOCIETY KNOW, SCHOOL PERSONNEL KNOW IT IS INAPPROPRIATE TO HAVE A "PERSONAL" RELATIONSHIP WITH A STUDENT!!!. If she did set him up, he should not have taken the "bait" and should have notified school personnel as soon as it occured. As posted by Kicknbutt, he had predatory tendencies since 2004, so this is not something knew. I just want the "other victims that set him up", in Carol's words, to come forward and expose him for the PREDATOR he is!!!
Mike Perretto July 28, 2011 at 08:49 PM
As a former student of Dale Fry's, back in 2000, I would like to express my disappointment with his actions. I do so with reservations, because, unfortunately, it is not so simple. Mr. Fry was a major influential force in my life, academically and otherwise, despite his self-deprecating, and perhaps with good reason, vocalizations not to be perceived as a role-model. He was an inspirational teacher, and one who gave me and countless others a great deal of appreciation for learning and for the subject matter of his particular specialty. I went on, in fact, to study English as an undergraduate, and completed a degree in the field based largely on the inspiration I drew from Mr. Fry's passions. I am disappointed because I feel that I invested too much in his character, though I will never be disappointed by the impact that the man has had on my intellectual growth and academic development. While his actions are a clear abuse of authority, and, in this case, a clear violation of the law, I will continue to understand Dale Fry as a man whose net impact on our community remains a good one. Temptation is among the most difficult trials to overcome, and it is difficult for me to condemn a man whose legacy is mostly of connecting with troubled students, inspiring the uninspired, and bringing otherwise disengaged students into the academic arena with vigor. What I gained from this man, despite his self-admitted flaws, will remain a positive influence on my life. My $.02.
It all comes out in the wash July 28, 2011 at 09:10 PM
Only a man would say this, "is difficult for me to condemn a man whose legacy is mostly of connecting with troubled student." He is troubled and took advantage of these women. Perhaps it was his motive and plan all along.
Jane Enviere July 28, 2011 at 09:15 PM
Abusers generally target people just like you describe -- "troubled" and "disengaged" because they are inherently vulnerable. Reading this comment just makes me wonder how many other people are out there who may have been victimized. It's disturbing to see the word "temptation" used in describing a 50-something year old man who sexually victimized children. That sounds like trivializing criminal conduct. I question whether victims of sexual abuse would agree that the criminals who violated them have a "net impact" that "remains a good one." Inspiring 100 students doesn't matter if you have caused irreparable harm to even one.
Mike Perretto July 28, 2011 at 09:22 PM
Perhaps you're right. Considering my past relationship and admiration for Mr. Fry, I admit my judgment is biased. To be clear, I find his actions reprehensible, and my heart goes out to the victim and her family. I hope that she can recover from this. When I say "it is difficult for me to condemn a man whose . . . etc.," I mean just that. I do it with great difficulty because of my misplaced faith in his character. I invested a good deal in this man as a role model, and it's painful to discover that he is capable of what he has done.
It all comes out in the wash July 28, 2011 at 10:18 PM
Mike, There are more than one victim. Just read above from some of his female students. My guess is there are many many more. He deserves jail. Then he can truly help the "troubled" and "disengaged" .
Mike Perretto July 28, 2011 at 11:06 PM
Of course he deserves to go to prison for what he's done. I feel like you're missing the point entirely, here. He is convicted. Justice will be done, though perhaps not to the extent you would like. I have no doubt, now, that he has victimized more than one poor girl. I have no doubt that the courageous will come forward, and that the full extent of his crimes will become apparent. My stake in this is one of moral conflict, you see. I remember a different man, and I hate that I had been so thoroughly hoodwinked. It is very disappointing, and, as much as you may feel that it should be possible to do so, I cannot simply erase the positive influence that he had on my life, and on the lives of many others who were blissfully ignorant of his true nature. I'm offended that you would try to invalidate my opinion simply because I'm "only a man," or because I once admired a teacher who had tremendous impact on my life. It's a troubling and conflicting experience when someone you trust and respect turns out to be a predator.
patricia hish July 29, 2011 at 02:45 AM
@ Mike, This is coming from a mom of all boys, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. You sir, did nothing wrong, you yourself were a child when this so called teacher/human being commited these horrific crimes. This man/animal (I will reserve my true feelings) created victims on both sides. Most molesters are very good at what they do. They function and sometimes exceed with their professions, Mr. Fry did this with you. They need to be wanted and validated, you excelled for him and that was his drug of choice at that time. He then required a stronger drug and that's when the molester showed up. I would like to know one person out there who didn't have a teacher they looked up to. You feel torn and I can understand that. It's obvious as an adult, you know right from wrong. Your writing clearly shows that you learned valuable lessons and are doing good things with your life. I would much rather have a student be taught by a demon and learn how to be a outstanding citizen, then to be taught by a teacher with whom they learned nothing and I have to pay to keep their butt in jail. You are an example that out of something horrible can come something good. "only a man" a man who has now learned another life lesson. My belief is God sometimes puts chosen people in places and situations when he's looking for a change. The education you recieved from Mr. Fry can be used for the benefit of others and to make sure this never happens again.
Kicknbutt Taknnames July 29, 2011 at 04:09 PM
Mike, I totally understand what you are saying about admiring Mr. Fry. I was one of those children that was sexually abused by him. I knew him quite well long ago and he does have a very compelling way about him. But he does pray on the "troubled" as that is what all predators do. They know their "profession" well and how to work on the troubled children to accomplish what they truly want in the end. They "groom" these children to make them feel as if they are the most important person in their life, and befriend them to where they would trust the predator wholeheartedly. That is when the predator strikes. The children in some cases feel as if they are the only ones in the predator's life and that is the way the predator wants it to be. I am sure, because I personally know Mr. Fry, that there are many children and adults alike out there that feel just that way and is also torn by this case. Mr. Fry knows how to really touch people's lives in a good way, bad way, and predator way. He is so very smart and has gotten away with his predator nature for so many years. As I said I knew him when he was in his early 30's when things happened to me. Because of this, I am unsure if many will come out of the woodwork, but know this...where there is one there is many more that has been unheard for whatever reason. I am really glad for you, Mike, that he has touched your life in a positive way. There is nothing wrong with you admiring the man that you know as that is
Kicknbutt Taknnames July 29, 2011 at 04:17 PM
the side he showed you. I am also very happy for you that he touched you in such a way that produced a very outstanding young gentleman in you. I know, it must be very heart breaking for you to realize that there is a "darker" side to Mr. Fry and probably shatters some of your feelings toward him. Please don't let it be that way though, take what you have learned...the positive and negative from Mr. Fry and put it forth in your life to enrich your life more. Even out of school, there are lessons good and bad to be learned by Mr. Fry's actions. Coming from a survivor of Mr. Fry's, you appear to be a very outstanding young man. Continue to walk the path that Mr. Fry paved for you and I am sure you will become a very awesome and outstanding man that will make a positive difference in the people you come in contact with as you sound like you are already doing so.
Mike Perretto July 29, 2011 at 11:05 PM
Patricia: You hit the nail on the head. I was beginning to feel like I was crazy! Thank-you for understanding. As much as I feel like a mature adult, I realize that I have quite a bit of learning to do. It is one thing to intellectually understand the dichotomy of human nature, but it is another thing entirely to absorb and deflect the feeling of absolute betrayal. Mr. Fry was the best teacher I've ever had, and, as it turns out, he was the worst person I've ever known. Will take a while to wrap my head around that. Kicknbutt: Your response absolutely humbles me, and, frankly, I don't feel like I deserve validation from you. You have endured a horror that I cannot wrap my head around entirely, and I am inspired by your compassion, your wisdom, and your ability to acknowledge a sliver of good even in the man (or monster) who so abused your trust and admiration. I wouldn't wish the horror of your experience on anyone, but I would wish for others to learn from your courage, your insight, and your remarkably positive outlook. KEEP IT UP!! And inspire people who need to hear what you have to say!! And keep kickin butt.
russ harrison August 05, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Seems like every week we read about another teacher, both males and females, diddling around with their students! He was 54 and she was 17? Or was he 54 and she was 15 at the time it occurred? The article isn't clear. Either way, the charges are pretty serious. Even if it was a matter of a young woman being of legal age, and even if the acts were by consent...its' still just plain wrong! Yet another reason why my wife and I don't allow teachers to become "Facebook Friends" with our kids.We are getting more and more concerned with this blurring of hierarchy regarding the student-teacher positions and authority roles. My family has a lot of educators in it, and they all agree that socialization with the students outside of the classroom is a bad idea. A lot of younger teachers seem to believe they need to be the student's buddies in order to be effective.Bad idea. They aren't their buddies, they are their instructors. And...no one is immune to temptation, but some are weak enough to act upon it. So why would a teacher put themselves into such a position? Shame, shame on those that would do that.! The words predator and idiot both come to mind here...
russ harrison August 05, 2011 at 06:37 PM
17 is such an odd age.Old enough to enlist in the military, with parental consent, old enough to be declared emancipated without parental consent. My aunt was married at 17, celebrated 54 years of marriage. It was pretty common for women that age to marry or be self sufficient back then. Alexander the Great had pretty much been there and done that by 17. Molly Pitcher was manning a canon at that age. I myself was digging foxholes and eating c-rations at 17. I point out these facts because I have a 16 year old daughter. Her opinion on this matter was surprising to me. She believes that both parties are at fault. The student should have known better and the teacher was an idiot, according to her. I believe I may actually have to agree with her on this. Her argument was concise and reasonable. So much for teenagers not having any worthwhile ideas! 17 is a tough age. Prone to mistakes, yet old enough to be held accountable for their actions. Can't vote, but able to throw youthful energy at any campaign for any cause. Rough learning experience here. Hopefully, both students and teaches will learn from this situation. They are the students, not coffee mates.They are the teachers, not frat brothers and sorority sisters!
Paul L. August 05, 2011 at 06:59 PM
Here's a State that passed a law for teachers not to have facebook contact with students. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44034102/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/ I'm curious as to what D308 has done regarding conduct and social media.
Jane Enviere August 06, 2011 at 12:03 AM
As with so many things in life, it's unfortunate that we need to legislate common sense. But, we obviously do. Along with many other issues, one of the reasons why I dislike social networking and don't participate on things like FB or Twitter is that it seems to encourage erasing boundaries, lines, and distinctions that are actually quite helpful in maintaining the integrity of various relationships. My friend is a surgeon and we were talking about how he has had patients try to "friend" him. He has ignored them and now his Facebook is locked down as tight as it can be. lol But really...what would possess an adult to attempt that kind of contact with his/her doctor? You're not friends. Not IRL and not in FB land.
Steven Jack (Editor) August 25, 2011 at 02:34 PM
Hi folks. This story has been updated today. Sept. 7 is no longer the sentencing date. Find the latest info here. http://oswego.patch.com/articles/former-ohs-teacher-convicted-in-sexual-abuse-hires-new-attorney
Alyxandra Nicole Vogt August 27, 2011 at 01:00 AM
Russ your daughter I think actually has a completely intelligent and valid view on the subject, and you should be proud that she is that smart. Yes, both parties are at fault for this. Mr. Fry is the adult, he should have been the one taking the initiative to avoid such a situation but at the same time the girl also had every chance to not be involved at all. It was a decision she made, just because she's young does not make her completely void of responsiblity. 17 is a tough, especially in the town of Oswego where most of the kids there are always partying and having sex, and not always caught but plenty have done these things with adults that are on the school staff. It's the reason I hated the town the entire time I went there, and despised the high school the whole time I went there. And I want to point out, that I actually remember my senior year having a conversation with MR. FRY about how disgusted I was with the way the female students (and in general all the students) behaved and how completely ignorant everyone tended to be. You know what he did? He actually told me that he agreed, yes obviously he didn't mind giving in to the temptation of it when he had the chance but at the time that I knew him he agreed with my point of view and we had a great discussion and he actually bought me a senior present of Dante's The Inferno because he said it was an excellent college level book that I woud love. He was a great teacher, who simply made a poor choice in judgement
Sheep September 13, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Hello Mike, I made an account simply to reply to your post. I graduated from Oswego High in 2006 and the similarities between your experience and mine is startling. I too would like to preface this with my complete devastation upon hearing the conviction of Mr. Fry. This devastation does not come because I advocate his release, or even that I think he was innocent, but rather because of the positive influence that he had in my life. Much like you, I studied, and am currently studying, philosophy because of the influence that Mr. Fry had on me on an academic level. In fact, when I first met Fry I was an intelligent student, but wholly an underachieving one. I remember, vividly, one of the first days that I was in one of his classes (I had him for at least 5 classes) when he reprimanded me for underachieving in his course. His methods were unorthodox, to say the least, but this pseudo-berating is one of the pivotal moments of my high school career when I reflect. Had it not been for Fry, I would have never seen academia (and my success in it) as a marvel to behold. With all of that being said, I can't emphasize enough how disappointed I am in the man that was so central in my development intellectually, and how poorly I feel for the victim(s). Nobody should have to experience what these poor women have, but just as tragic is that for each student that he irreversibly harmed, there are five that recall an experience similar to ours when they reflect on Dale Fry.
Pam March 07, 2012 at 07:16 PM
March 9th sentencing delayed. No new date known.

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