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Local News

Former teacher with sex abuse charges released from jail

Dayna Chidester, 50, Manhattan
Dayna Chidester, 50, Manhattan

A former high school teacher charged with sexually abusing a teenage boy was released from jail after a judge agreed to lower her $1 million bond.

About 2:30 p.m. Feb. 1, Dayna K. Chidester, 50, of Manhattan was released from the Will County jail after posting 10 percent of her $250,000 bond. A Waukegan woman wire transferred $25,000 for Chidester’s release. The woman declined to comment when contacted by The Herald-News.

Chidester’s bond initially was set at $1 million, but Will County Judge Dave Carlson allowed her bond to be lowered to $250,000 after her attorney, Steve Haney, argued for a reduction.

Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Jeffrey Brown argued that the $1 million bond was appropriate for Chidester because of the nature of her offenses. He said she had “countless contacts” with minors in her capacity as a teacher.

Brown also said child pornography charges may be filed against Chidester because she and the victim allegedly traded nude photos.

Carlson said the most serious charge against Chidester, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, is an offense that can be punishable by probation. He said a pre-trial risk assessment score for Chidester put her at 1 out of 14, making her a low-risk defendant.

Carlson didn’t think the $100,000 bond Haney was asking for was appropriate and set it at $250,000.

Chidester has been charged with engaging in numerous sexual acts with a 14-year-old boy between Oct. 1 and Dec. 27. She also was charged with using a cellphone to groom the alleged victim.

In September, Chidester and the boy communicated with each other via text messages that became sexual in nature, Brown said, and Chidester and the boy also exchanged nude photos.

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