Crime & Courts

Former Prairie Ridge High School teacher, coach pleads guilty to theft

Rick Lima
Rick Lima

A former Prairie Ridge High School teacher and coach will serve one year of court supervision and pay restitution for stealing more than $50,000 from an elderly woman.

Rick Lima, 51, of Palatine, pleaded guilty Friday to a misdemeanor theft charge in connection with accusations that surfaced earlier this year.

Police arrested the former Prairie Ridge High School physical education teacher and varsity girls basketball coach in January.

It was a tip from McHenry County Senior Services Associates Inc. that set the Crystal Lake police investigation into motion.

Lima, previously of the 700 block of Nashua Court, Crystal Lake, was accused of using assets belonging to a woman who was more than 70 years old to pay for a home in July 2017, police said at the time. Lima had previously pleaded not guilty to all charges.

As a condition of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to dismiss more serious charges, including financial exploitation of an elderly person, which could have landed Lima behind bars for as many as 15 years. He also must pay $30,000 in restitution.

Lima began his position as the varsity girls basketball coach at Prairie Ridge High School in January 2016. He was one of eight teachers whose position with Community High School District 155 was cut at the end of the 2017-18 academic year.

Employees who were laid off were selected based on statutory guidelines and student choice, depending on the courses students register for, district officials have said.

If Lima successfully completes one year of court supervision, it will not show as a conviction on his record, and he could seek to have the arrest expunged.

Lima and his attorney, Michael Krejci, could not immediately be reached for comment.

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