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Woodstock North teacher charged with sexually assaulting student

James B. Guttridge
James B. Guttridge

WOODSTOCK – A Woodstock North High School teacher and wrestling coach has been charged after police said he had sex with a 14-year-old student – at least once at the school.



James B. Guttridge, 38, of 8010 Stater Drive, Rockford, was arrested today at his home after what Woodstock police said was an extensive investigation that included cooperation from School District 200 and Woodstock North High School officials.



Superintendent Ellyn Wrzeski said that Guttridge, who taught physical education and was hired in 2000, has been placed on paid administrative leave.



According to the criminal complaint, Guttridge had sex with the girl on April 15, 2009, at Woodstock North High School. He also is accused of touching the girl's breast on April 7, 2009.



Guttridge is charged with criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He is being held at McHenry County Jail on $80,000 bond.



Sgt. Chip Amati of the Woodstock Police Department said the victim, who is still a student, came forward to police.



"At 14, she can't consent," Amati said. "At 14, and him being 38, there is no relationship. That can't even be considered or entertained as a relationship."



Amati said no one else has come forward with any allegations.



This is the second teacher at Woodstock North High School in less than a year to have been accused of having inappropriate contact with a student. In July, Joseph Brasile, 49, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to one year of supervision plus 50 hours of community service.



According to the criminal complaint, Brasile wrote a letter to a 15-year-old female student "inquiring [about] her thoughts of engaging into a more meaningful relationship with him while displaying his strong feelings he [had] developed for her.”



There was no physical interaction in that incident, police said.



The investigation is ongoing and Woodstock police encourage anyone with more information to contact the investigations division at 815-338-2131.

– Northwest Herald

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