Crime & Courts

Former McHenry East High School dean, football coach pleads guilty to disorderly conduct

Nathaniel H. Zunkel, 42, of the 4700 block of Oregon Trail, McHenry
Nathaniel H. Zunkel, 42, of the 4700 block of Oregon Trail, McHenry

A former McHenry East High School dean and football coach accused of punching an adult family member in the face has been sentenced to court supervision after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct.

Nathaniel H. Zunkel, 42, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor offense Aug. 22. The charge stemmed from claims that Zunkel punched a family member in the eye during an argument, according to an order of protection filed against Zunkel in McHenry County court.

In exchange for Zunkel’s guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed additional misdemeanor domestic battery charges. McHenry County Judge Michael Feeterer also ordered Zunkel to complete a four-hour domestic violence education seminar and attend 24 weeks of abuse counseling.

If Zunkel successfully completes his supervision sentence, the charge will not appear as a conviction on his record.

The situation that led to Zunkel’s arrest began about 8:25 p.m. June 16, 2018, when officers were called to a home in the 4700 block of Oregon Trail, McHenry, police have said.

Three minors were in the home at the time, and none of the children were harmed, McHenry police public affairs officer Patrick Polidori said at the time.

McHenry High School District 156 placed Zunkel on leave while the investigation was ongoing, and Zunkel resigned June 20, 2018, from his positions as head football coach and dean of students at East. At that time, he had been with the district for about two years.

Zunkel previously declined to comment on the charges, but District 156 included a portion of his resignation letter in a news release sent out last year.

“I am resigning to deal with family and personal issues, and to better myself as a father, a husband and as a leader of young people,” Zunkel said in his letter of resignation. “I appreciate the community in McHenry for welcoming my family and all the support we received.”

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