New charges double bail for teacher

By Emily Sokolik

Former Urbana teacher Jon White was arraigned yesterday at the Champaign County Courthouse on charges of predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

The 35-year-old is accused of molesting nine students in his second-grade classroom at Thomas Paine Elementary School, 1801 Cherry Hill Dr., beginning August 2006. Authorities said that White allegedly blindfolded girls in his classroom and played a “tasting game” with them.

White was originally charged with three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault. However, a grand jury filed thirteen additional counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against White Thursday.

White entered the courtroom yesterday in handcuffs and sat beside his lawyer, Carol Dison. Several of his family members were present as well.

Adam Dill, assistant Champaign County state’s attorney, argued for White’s bond to be increased to $1,000,000.

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His bond was originally set at $500,000. His father posted the bond for his son’s release Feb. 2.

“Our argument was that the circumstances had changed in light of the additional victims and the additional counts,” said Julia Reitz, Champaign County state’s attorney.

Dill labeled White as “a substantial flight risk.”

Dison, however, argued for White’s bond to remain at $500,000.

“He is certainly not anymore dangerous than he was when the investigation began,” she said.

The judge repealed White’s previous bond and set the new bond at $1,000,000. White pleaded not guilty and will appear in court March 27 for a pre-trial hearing.

If convicted, White faces a mandatory life sentence.

Yesterday, White was arrested on new charges by McLean County authorities.

A separate investigation was conducted in McLean to look into allegations of sexual misconduct when he worked in the Normal school district in 2005.

He will be arraigned at McLean County in the next few days, Reitz said. He is currently being held at the McLean County jail.

“At this point … we have been throughout this matter, (we) are cooperating with our law enforcement agencies, the Department of Children and Family Services, the school districts and we will continue to treat this case with the seriousness that it deserves,” Reitz said.