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 know..it 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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