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Counselor charged with sex crimes released on bond

WOODSTOCK – An alcohol and drug counselor arrested on allegations of sex crimes with a young boy could have worked with juveniles from the court system, officials confirmed Wednesday.

While it remains unclear whether 29-year-old Taylor L. Blaul worked directly with minors through Direct Counseling, court officials say at least 40 juveniles have been referred to the agency since 2012.

Calls and messages to Direct Counseling, where Blaul was a clinical director, specializing in alcohol and drug counseling, went unreturned Wednesday.

Blaul was arrested Tuesday, six days after authorities said he was seen openly kissing a boy at Woodstock's city pool.

He appeared in rights court Wednesday morning with his private attorney, Pat Walsh. He later posted $6,000 bond and was released later that morning.

Blaul was charged with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. If convicted, he faces a possible prison sentence of between three to seven years.

Police wouldn't elaborate on how Blaul knew the alleged victim, who was between 10 and 12 years old, and was not related but otherwise known to Blaul.

Authorities allege he fondled the boy on three other occasions. Those incidents are said to have occurred at Blaul's Woodstock home beginning in September 2013.

There have been no other allegations of sexual misconduct from any other individuals.

"We know of no other victims, but if anybody has information, please feel free to contact our investigations division," Woodstock Police Detective Sgt. Jeff Parsons said.

Based in Woodstock and Crystal Lake, Direct Counseling is a major agency for alcohol, substance abuse and anger management evaluations for criminal defendants.

McHenry County Court Administrator Dan Wallis said he spoke to Direct Counseling's owner and said Blaul was no longer employed there.

"[The owner has] taken steps as a professional business person to ensure the safety of those individuals that seek his services," Wallis said. "I'm comfortable with the information he's provided."

Wallis says the court doesn't directly send clients to Direct Counseling, or any place for that matter, but it maintains a referral list provided to defendants who require a court-ordered evaluation. Locally, Direct Counseling is one of about 10 such places. However, the list extends well beyond McHenry County.

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