Former Durand H.S. Teacher Sentenced to 30 Years for Sexual Contact with Six Students

By: Meghan Dwyer
By: Meghan Dwyer

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- It’s a crime that left countless parents uneasy. A Durand High School Teacher convicted of having sex with six of her students.

Jennifer Bland was sentenced today to 30 years imprisonment.

Tom Crepeao from Lake Summerset said, "I’m glad she got convicted. Anybody who has a problem with children should go to jail"

Mary Tappert from Lake Summerset said, "I’m sorry for the teacher and I’m also sorry for the kids. That’s a terrible thing to happen to kids. You upsets me."

Bland was a teacher at Durand High School. She plead guilty to sexual assault, sexual abuse, and child pornography after having sexual contact with six students.

"She tried to get a seventh student to send her illicit photos of himself, but this is not just another Mary Kay Letourneau case," Winn. Co. State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato said. "This is not a story where two individuals were trying to have a relationship that society doesn't accept."

Bruscato says this is a case of group child molestation: the worst thing that can happen when trusting parents send their kids to school.

Over the last few years there have been several cases where teachers have been accused of having sex with their students, but sociologists say it's not about the sex: it's about control.

Mauren Mostacci from the Rape Crisis Center said, "It’s about power and control. It’s not about sexuality. It's not about passion or any of those things."

Most of the local teachers accused of such behavior teach high school and even though more men commit these types of crimes a surprising number are female.

Mostacci said, "We see women as mothers and nurturers so it's even harder for us to wrap our head around the fact that women would be abusive."

Bland will serve eighty five percent of her thirty year sentences; she'll be in jail for about twenty four years. This is more jail time than some other teachers have gotten for the same crimes but that's because of the number of victims.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- 23-year-old Jennifer Bland pleaded guilty to four counts of Criminal Sexual Assault, 2 counts of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse and one count of Child Pornography and was sentenced to at total of 30 years imprisonment.

The offenses arose out of incidents that occurred between January 2009 and October 22, 2009 while the defendant was a teacher at Durand High School. The victims ranged in age from 14 to 17. Jennifer Bland due to her position as a teacher at the school was in a position of trust or authority to the victims at the time the offenses were committed. The offenses include unlawful sexual contact between Jennifer Bland and six of the victims and soliciting the seventh victim for a video of the victim unclothed and engaged in a sexual act.

Criminal Sexual Assault is a Class 1 Felony with a sentencing range of 4-15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections to be followed by 3 years to natural life mandatory supervised release. Pursuant to truth and sentencing a defendant shall serve 85 percent of the imposed sentence.

Child Pornography is a Class 1 Felony with a sentencing range of 4-15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections to be followed by 3 years to natural life mandatory supervised release.

Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse is a Class 2 Felony with a sentencing range of 3-7 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections to be followed by 2 years mandatory supervised release.

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  • by anon Location: Rockford on Sep 6, 2011 at 10:19 PM
    By the way, it was at least 9 students and not 6, since a student there told me she knows all nine. These investigators can't even do their job.
  • by Durand Graduate Location: Durand on Sep 3, 2011 at 08:20 AM
    You people are sick with comments like, "I would have loved to have hands on sex education, I would have loved it, I would have kept my mouth shut." This was NOT a case of mutual attraction between a senior and a teacher, this was a woman preying on minors! Trust me when I say that there were way more than 7 students that were abused in this case, and trust me when I say she probably ended up with a year per student she was inappropriate with. She was a sick woman, and belongs in jail for a long time. This is a horrible thing that has taken place, and you people who think this was funny are SICK.
  • by topper Location: Dixon on Sep 3, 2011 at 06:02 AM
    FACTS politicians and Law Enforcement do not tell you about the Sex Offender witch hunt. Predators using abduction and violence amount to less than 1% of child molestations. A GROWING number of offenders are children themselves. The age with the greatest number of offenders is 14.6 years old. 80% of youths report having had sex by age 16. If we locked up every offender in the country, we could reduce new sex crimes by only 5.3%. Internet solicitation where an adult tries to make contact with a child happens to only 3% of minors. 93% of sex offenses are committed by someone not on the registry. Therefore, the Registry is 93% ineffective.90% of sex offenses are committed by family members or someone known to the child. Re-offense rate averages: auto theft, drunken driving 75%, burglary 74%, robbery 70.2%, larceny 74.6%, sex offenders 3.5%. Not one study states residency restrictions are helpful, there are many stating they are ineffective and actually cause more harm.
  • by Durand Student on Sep 2, 2011 at 10:26 PM
    You people honestly make me sick, with statements like, "I wish I had a teacher like that, I would have loved it and never told, I would have loved hands on sex education." What is your problem? This wasn't mutual attraction in this case, it was a woman preying on minors. I witnessed it with my own eyes, and this woman didn't just have sexual contact/send pictures to 6 boys. She made comments towards girls, AND I know of students who didn't even come forward. Trust me when I say she got everything she deserved, and she probably ended up getting a year per student she did/said anything inappropriate with. You sick people need to change how you think because there is NOTHING ok with this.
    • reply
      by Normal Guy on Sep 6, 2011 at 11:09 AM in reply to Durand Student
      You honestly make me sick. Clearly you are a sexually frustrated woman. Typical American puritan, bomb and kill thousands in other countries, but oh the horror if some misguided lonely teacher fools around with a teenage boy. Fire her, yes. Ban her from teaching again, yes. Probation, yes. But thirty years in prison? Go bomb an abortion clinic you nut job.
  • by Michael Location: Rockford on Sep 2, 2011 at 09:05 PM
    This is unfair and Rockford Prosecutors are flexing muscles with this case Bruscato has let many other cases go that are harder to prove like Elder Abuse. 30 yrs is crazy - why not peel off some of these years and distribute them to other offenders of the elderly. He is for elder Abuse but when I called and reported it his office did nothing. this is sick. His office didn't even call back.
  • by Joe Smoe Location: Rockford on Sep 2, 2011 at 08:22 PM
    Oh,cry me a river
  • by J on Sep 2, 2011 at 07:41 PM
    If only my high school spanish teacher would've been this open, I would've never missed class. I also would have kept my mouth shut. Kids these days. SMDH
  • by deano Location: wincty on Sep 2, 2011 at 07:40 PM
    Seems a little outragious,murder by vehicle less than 20 years,fool around with teen boys,30 years.She did wrong,but not 30 years wrong,and the powers that be wonder why we don't trust the government,YES the judicial system is government.Those boys more than likely had more knowledge about what was going on than she did.
  • by JustAThought Location: Byron on Sep 2, 2011 at 07:46 AM
    Let's evaluate: Get drunk, get high on dope, load up the car with ammo and a gun, "Boogity Boogity Boogity - Let's Go Racing" down Newburg, slam into another car at over 100mph and kill that driver, try to flee the scene - GET 12 YEARS IN JAIL. On the flip side, be a little evil with some half-willing participants but leave your victims still alive - GET 30 YEARS IN JAIL. One of the judges in these two cases is incompetent and should be removed - you decide which one.
  • by TooOldNow Location: NorthEast on Sep 2, 2011 at 07:32 AM
    You're right "dave". Back in the late 50's early 60's we jocks used to sit and B.S. each other about doing or trying to do the teachers we found desirable. As for 30 years, had she killed one of them she would have gotten less time. This Nation has become "Erotophobia" as well as "Genophobia", very sad for the generations to come.
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