Former Reed-Custer teacher arrested on sex abuse charges

January 6, 2019

JOLIET — Danya Chidester, who was teaching in her second year at Reed-Custer High School, was arrested on criminal sexual abuse charges on Thursday.

The 50-year-old Chidester, of Manhattan, was charged with six counts of criminal sexual abuse for an incident that occurred Oct. 1, 2018, according to Will County Circuit Clerk online records.

These incidents were alleged to have taken place with a 14-year-old Manhattan boy, according to published reports.

She is being held on a $1 million bond.

Chidester also is charged with grooming and indecent solicitation for an incident that occurred Sept. 1, 2018.

She was arrested by Manhattan police in Manhattan, where the alleged incidents occurred.

The incidents did not involve any Reed-Custer students, according to Reed-Custer Superintendent Mark Mitchell.

Chidester’s arrest came one day after she resigned her teaching position at Reed-Custer.

She taught consumer and family sciences. She also supervised the COOP work program, oversaw the teaching internships and co-sponsored the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America organization.

Chidester’s resignation came about from an ongoing drug investigation by Braidwood police. It is unclear how long Chidester taught at Reed-Custer.

On Dec. 20, the mother of a Reed-Custer student contacted a school resource officer in regard to alleged text messages related to illegal drugs being exchanged between a high school student and Chidester.

Reed-Custer administrators met with investigators during the holiday break and learned the alleged texts did exist, according to a release.

A meeting with Chidester, school administrators, Reed-Custer Education Association leadership and a Braidwood police investigator was held Thursday at which time Chidester resigned.

Chidester will not be allowed on school property and will be barred from having any contact with Reed-Custer students.

Chidester is the second Reed-Custer teacher to be arrested on sex charges.

On Dec. 4, Kevin Macha was charged with possession of child pornography.

Macha taught band in grades 5 through 12. He has since resigned.

Macha is barred from being on school district property, entering any school buildings or having any contact with students.

His next court date is Monday.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children contacted the Will County Sheriff Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force last June. They had information about an individual who was sharing child pornography on his computer.

In August, sheriff’s investigators were notified of the cyber tip. During the course of the investigation, it was determined Macha was using a social media platform in order to share child pornography.

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