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Teacher Indicted on 34 Counts of Sexual Abuse, Child Pornography

May 1, 1985

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) _ A substitute teacher with previous child molestation convictions, described as ″using the school system as a private hunting preserve,″ has been indicted on 34 counts of sexual abuse, battery and child pornography.

The indictment of James C. Goebel, 55, was announced Tuesday by Lake County Sheriff Robert Babcox and State’s Attorney Fred Foreman. Circuit Judge William Block set Goebel’s bond at $1.05 million.

″Legislation must be passed to enable school boards to run checks on the background of teacher applicants,″ the sheriff said.

Babcox said Goebel used his status as a teacher to win the confidence of parents and children.

″He offered to take them on overnight outings where various sexual acts were performed, and he bribed them with gifts of money and clothing,″ the sheriff charged.

The charges involve five girls and two boys who were Goebel’s students in Waukegan public schools this year, and three sisters from another Lake County town whom Goebel allegedly photographed and sexually abused from 1981 to 1984, Foreman said.

The victims ranged in age from 5 to 14, he said. The three sisters are 9, 11 and 14.

Diaries detailing his alleged sexual abuse of children from 1966 to 1983 were seized in a search of Goebel’s home in Spring Grove, Babcox said, adding that sheriff’s police were seeking more recent diaries.

Police said they confiscated 10,000 photos of naked children in Goebel’s home and Babcox charged that Goebel had taken all the photos.

Goebel was convicted of taking indecent liberties with children in 1966 and 1972. In the 1966 case, the victim was a 10-year-old girl in Prospect Heights who was one of his students at Sullivan Elementary School the previous year, Foreman said.

Despite the conviction, he became a substitute teacher in Chicago public schools from 1966 until 1972, when he was again convicted of molesting students, that time at McPherson Elementary School in Chicago, Foreman added.

Goebel has taught the last several years in Lake County schools.

Assistant State’s Attorney Vicki Rossetti said the penalty for each count of child pornography is 4 to 15 years in prison, and the penalty for aggravated criminal sexual abuse is 3 to 7 years in prison. The other charges carry lesser penalties.

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