River Grove Teacher Cleared Of Drug Charges
Updated: 1/4/11 5:12 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Drug possession charges have been dropped against a River Grove teacher arrested in Chicago last month.
Cook County prosecutors confirmed Tuesday that a judge dropped the case against Kathleen M. Hebel on Dec. 23, 2010, after finding no probable cause to sustain the charges.
Hebel, 33, of the 5300 block of West Agatite Avenue, had been arrested on Dec. 3, 2010, when Chicago police executed a search warrant in the 4500 block of North Mulligan Avenue.
Hebel has said she was babysitting for a friend at the Mulligan Avenue home at the time of her arrest.
“I actually had no knowledge this was going on, until the police busted through the door,” said Hebel. “When the police came in, when I was babysitting, I was wearing slippers, pajama pants and a tank top. They actually thought that I lived there.”
Hebel said the police actually had a search warrant for her friend’s brother.
Jerry Krzeczkowski, 31, also was arrested during the bust and was charged with manufacturing and delivery of cocaine, manufacture and delivery of cannabis and possession of a controlled substance, according to police.
Krzeczkowski was the target of a search warrant that was being executed at the home, according to a police report, which said the total value of the drugs he had was $7,600.
A police report said Hebel was found in the living room, clenching her right fist around a plastic bag containing a white powdery substance that police believed was cocaine. Hebel was arrested at 8:11 p.m.
When asked if what was on the police report was correct, Hebel replied, “No. Absolutely not. That was not true and actually, when I had my court hearing, the preliminary hearing, the actual officer that searched me and stood in front of me the entire time had testified to the judge that nothing was found on me or in my purse.”
On Dec. 23, 2010, a judge determined there was no probable cause to sustain the charges and dismissed the case against Hebel, prosecutors said.
Hebel said she tried to be cooperative.
“I didn’t even know why I was being arrested until three days later, and I certainly didn’t know about any drugs,” she said. “It was me really just being at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Hebel said the charges have ruined her career. She is a fourth grade teacher at River Grove School and, after her arrest, was placed on paid leave pending an investigation by the school district.
“I truly miss my family at River Grove. I have worked there for 11 years,” said Hebel. “This has just really ruined my reputation with the community and with the children that I teach and love so dearly. It’s been very hard for me.”
The superintendant of the River Grove school district says an administrative investigatory hearing is being scheduled where Hebel, her attorney and the district’s attorney will meet. After the hearing, Hebel’s status with the school will be determined.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot contributed to this report.