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03/13/96 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. WALLACE BOBO

March 13, 1996

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
WALLACE BOBO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Pulaski County. No. 91-CF-34. Honorable George Oros, Judge, presiding. This Opinion Substituted on Denial of Rehearing for Vacated Opinion of February 8, 1996, Previously

The Honorable Justice Rarick delivered the opinion of the court: Goldenhersh and Kuehn, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rarick

ORDER

This cause has been considered on the plaintiff-appellee's petition for rehearing, and the court being fully advised finds:

That this court previously filed an opinion in this cause on February 8, 1996;

That subsequently plaintiff-appellee filed a petition for rehearing; and

That this court now desires to vacate its previous opinion and substitute a new opinion in its stead.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the opinion previously filed in this cause on February 8, 1996, shall be, and the same is hereby, VACATED AND HELD FOR NAUGHT.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the opinion being filed on this date shall stand as the decision of the court.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff-appellee's petition for rehearing shall be, and the same is hereby, DENIED.

The Honorable Justice RARICK delivered the opinion of the court:

After a jury trial, defendant, Wallace Bobo, was found guilty of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and was sentenced to three years' imprisonment by the circuit court of Pulaski County. Defendant appeals, contending he was denied a fair trial through the erroneous admission of hearsay evidence and evidence of "other crimes." We reverse and remand this cause for a new trial.

Prior to the surfacing of the allegations in this case, defendant had been a health teacher and athletic director or coach at Meridian High School for some 28 years. According to the testimony of one of the female students in his class, L.G., on February 25, 1991, defendant allegedly sexually abused her in his office during school hours. Sometime that day, L.G. informed defendant she had a headache and asked if he had any aspirin. Defendant gave her the aspirin and, after doing so, asked her to return to his office to speak with him after her last class. L.G. returned to defendant's office at approximately 3 p.m. According to L.G., defendant asked her to take a seat and put her books down, and then he started talking to her about her day. L.G. began to feel uncomfortable and got up to leave. Defendant asked her for a hug first. L.G. complied, and while he was hugging her, defendant allegedly touched her on the buttocks. Defendant then allegedly moved his hand to her breast and tried to kiss her. L.G. protested, telling defendant to stop, while hitting him. Defendant stopped and informed L.G. that if she ever changed her mind, she knew where to find him. As L.G. walked out of the office, defendant pinched her breast. After the incident, L.G. waited outside the door for one of her friends. Once they left school grounds, L.G. told her friend about the encounter. The next day, L.G. called the sex education teacher at school and discussed the incident with her. L.G. then informed her parents and the principal of the school the following day.

During the investigation conducted by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), several other students came forward recounting various incidents of having been fondled or spoken inappropriately to by defendant. The investigation resulted in defendant being charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against another female student, T.F. A jury trial on these charges resulted in a mistrial as the jury could not agree on a unanimous verdict. The State then filed two additional counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving L.G. and another female student, J.R. The first two counts involving T.F. and the count involving ...


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