Rydland, Bridges lawsuit on hold
By Kalyn Belsha email@example.com March 16, 2013 4:48PM
Updated: April 18, 2013 7:12AM
A Kane County judge has granted a three-month hold on a lawsuit against the West Aurora School District superintendent and the former West High principal, who is now head of Naperville School District 203.
The lawsuit alleges they failed to report allegations of sexual abuse against the school’s former band director.
The suit alleges that Superintendent James Rydland and former West High Principal Dan Bridges learned of allegations that former band director Steve Orland was sexually abusing a female student but failed to fire or suspend him.
The hold on the lawsuit was granted while a criminal investigation dealing with similar facts is being conducted.
Kane County Judge F. Keith Brown granted the hold last week after Rydland and Bridges, who is now the superintendent of District 203, filed motions that said allowing the civil case to continue while the criminal investigation was ongoing would jeopardize their Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves.
“Proceeding with this case will force Rydland to choose between defending himself by presenting a full and complete defense unencumbered by a possible criminal action and preserving his Fifth Amendment rights,” Rydland’s lawyer wrote in court documents arguing in support of the hold.
A lawyer for the young woman who filed the lawsuit, who is going by the name of Jane Doe, argued against the hold. Her attorney said that neither Bridges nor Rydland had been formally charged with a crime and that Doe wanted the civil case resolved “as efficiently as possible so that no further evidence becomes lost or otherwise compromised due to the passage of time.”
Both the criminal investigation and civil case are related to incidents involving Orland, who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 years in prison for sexual contact with two West High female students between late 2009 and the spring of 2010. One of those students is Doe.
The hold in the civil case will last 90 days. A status update for both sides will be held in Kane County Court on June 20.