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from www.rrstar.com – A Harlem Middle school teacher has been placed on administrative leave in the wake of 10 counts of criminal sexual abuse of a child.
Darcee Baney, 27, of Loves Park has been charged with five counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and five counts of criminal sexual abuse. Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announced the charges today.
Baney, who turned herself in this morning to Belvidere police, posted 10 percent of the $10,000 bond and was released, Bruscato said.
She scheduled to be in Winnebago County Court on Oct. 31.
Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony, punishable by three to seven years in prison. Criminal sexual abuse is a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison.
Baney worked for the district for five years as a science teacher and as a girls’ seventh-grade basketball coach.
The alleged offenses occurred between Nov. 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009, but were not reported to authorities until early August. Because they occurred in Rockford, the case was investigated by the Rockford Police Department.
At the time, the victim was 17 years old and Baney was varsity basketball coach at Belvidere High School.
“I thought she was great,” said Alyssa Reeverts, a senior on the 2008-09 Belvidere team. “She was young and she was great with us as players. I didn’t feel any awkwardness or that she was trying anything. She kept it very professional whenever I was around her.”
Baney has been on paid administrative leave since Sept. 5, said Harlem School District Superintendent Julie M. Morris, who was with Bruscato at the news conference.
“This is an unfortunate situation, and I want to assure parents and students that our students and their safety remain the district’s number one priority,” Morris said in a statement.
Greg Voiles, 53, of Loves Park was at Harlem Middle School today to pick up his grandson. He said he was unaware of the charges and reserved passing judgement.
“Everyone has their day in court,” he said. “Until then, I really can’t say anything.”
Baney was known as Darcee Schmidt when she was a star basketball player at Harlem High School. She was a four-year varsity player for the Huskies and earned Class AA honorable mention all-state honors from The Associated Press in 2003, her senior year.
She went on to star at Division II Lewis University, where she earned first team all-American honors her senior year (2007); she holds the school career scoring record with 1,986 points.