Former Band Director Unapologetic At Sex Abuse Sentencing

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP, Ill. (STMW) — In what will likely be his final public performance, Steve Orland was defiant and unapologetic. On Friday, the former West Aurora High School band director pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two band students, then read a lengthy statement that praised his own accomplishments and ignored his two victims.

In exchange for pleading guilty, Orland, 42, of North Aurora, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for fondling two band students at separate times in 2010 and 2011. Orland admitted to fondling one 17-year-old girl’s breast and, on another occasion, allowing another 16-year-old girl to touch his groin at the school.

In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop 25 other counts of battery, sexual assault and sexual abuse. Among the charges that were dropped included allegations that one of the girls performed oral sex on Orland, and that he had sexual contact with one of the girls in a minivan on a side street after a band concert.

Prosecutors said Orland, who knew the girls since they were freshmen, sent them thousands of text messages, dropped notes in their lockers and arranged meetings at school.

After agreeing to the plea deal, Orland read from a lengthy typed statement that he had titled “For that I am grateful.” The statement listed Orland’s many accomplishments as a teacher and band director. He also thanked the family and friends who have supported him, including dozens who gathered in the court Friday.

At no point in the statement did Orland apologize to the victims or the school district. He never mentioned the two girls. He did admit Friday was a difficult day and that he was experiencing a “wide range” of emotions.

Praises self, career

After saying he was saddened by the circumstances that brought him to court, Orland began listing his accomplishments from nearly two decades teaching in the West Aurora School District.

After each section of his statement, Orland repeated the phrase “for that, I am grateful,” as if it were a refrain from a musical composition.

Orland said he had no regrets about the many extra hours he spent trying to help students, including his time on the Positive Behavior Intervention committee. He said his binders of thank you notes are proof he made a difference to young musicians.

“The band room was the second home and that’s what it was: a safe place to be,” he said.

Judge Allen Anderson did not concur with Orland’s assessment. Anderson said Orland may have helped students, but his other actions had serious consequences.

“You have disgraced your profession and you have weakened the trust parents have in the educational system,” Anderson said. “You cannot undo the damage you have done to your victims.”

Sex in school building

Orland was arrested in May 2011, after another band teacher found Orland engaging in unusual behavior with a 17-year-old student in the band storage room. The other teacher told officials she tried to open the storage room door and was met with resistance. When Orland opened the door, his clothes were disheveled.

According to court records, the girl later told police she and Orland had started a romantic relationship in September 2010 when she was 17.

During that time, she had given Orland oral sex in his office and in the band room at West High, court records said. A second student then reported that separately she had also had a relationship with Orland when she was 16-years-old.

In March of 2010, he fondled the girl under her clothes. Prosecutors said they recovered thousands of text messages Orland had sent to the girls, sometimes during school.

In January 2011, prosecutors said, Orland sent one of the girls text messages to the effect of “I want to kiss you right now” and “I want you now”.

In May 2011, after the investigation began, Orland met with one of the victim’s friends and said “we cannot let the girls testify against me,” according to court records. And at unspecified times, Orland told one of the girls “if (she) really loved him, she would not testify,” according to court records.

“The victims and witnesses in this case are to be praised for the courage they showed in coming forward,” said Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon. “It could not have been easy, knowing they would face scorn and ridicule from this defendant’s allies. But they showed mettle and resolve that will prevent other young women from being exploited and victimized by this defendant.”

Says God is with him

As he continued his statement Friday morning, Orland said it was “such a joy to lend a hand” in various community activities, including coaching baseball, serving on the PTA and 16 years as a religious education teacher.

“God is walking with me and my family through this,” Orland said.

Orland lamented the time he will be away from his three children. He called it “ironic” that he will be absent during a time in their lives when he is most qualified to mentor them and coach their musical development. He also praised the beauty and courage of his wife, whom he called his “soul mate.”

“That love current that we share has never been stronger than it is today,” he said.

Victims spared testifying

On Friday, Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Pam Monaco said she was glad to spare the victims the pain of testifying, although she was prepared to go to trial. Prosecutors felt they had a strong case against Orland, who had no previous criminal history.

Orland was sentenced to six years in prison for contact with each girl. The sentences will have to be served consecutively. With good behavior, he would only have to serve half that time. He could have received probation.

Orland will have to register as a sex offender for life, meaning he can never teach children.

After the hearing, Orland’s attorney said the former teacher does regret his actions.

“He’s sorry for the entire matter, for the entire incident,” attorney Philip Nathe said. “It may not have come across in his statement, but he’s very sorry.”

West Aurora School District spokesman Mike Chapin released a short statement Friday.

“We terminated Mr. Orland in August,” Chapin said. “We are pleased to see a resolution to the separate criminal case.”

Chapin said the district is committed to making sure all students are safe in the classroom. He refused to comment on whether the district has made any policy or procedure changes since Orland was reported.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • zatso

    His head should be used as a percussion instrument for the rest of his natural life.


  • slippery

    his wife stuck by him, he calls her his soul mate, i call her an idiot ! she should go to prison for being stupid ! maybe he can start a band in prison.

    • disgusted

      I agree, how can a women be so stupid as to stand by a man that is not only cheating on her, but cheating with underage girls that were probably ‘coerced’ to start the relationship. Let hope that child services investigates her, to see if she is mental competent to raise children herself.

  • Former Band Director Unapologetic At Sex Abuse Sentencing — St. Charles news, photos and events —

    […] For the full story: CBS Chicago. […]

  • Roberta Waker

    Gee 12 whole years and 25 other charges were dropped for a plea? Our judicial system is in dire need of repair. The fact that he showed no remorse should have doubled his sentence. Let’s remember the prosecutors that made the plea deal and fire them AND their boss.

  • Tom

    Orland seems to be grateful for a lot of things. When he gets to prison and the professional inmates, who have spent 2/3rds of thier life in prison get a hold of him, he won’t be so grateful. They’ll be telling him thier grateful he’s there when they have him bent over a rail and they are forcing him to do the same things and then some that he had the victim do to him

  • Designated Cha Cha

    Watch out, it looks like Tom is getting aroused.

  • Just axin

    R weaker- you couldn’t be more correct. This happens ALL the time. Plea deals are among the biggest problems in the system. This has to change.

    • 2 sides to a story

      if the courts or DA really had an unbeatable case, or for that matter, if they weren’t interested in closing this case in less than a year, they wouldn’t have allowed the plea. They had an interest in getting a conviction. Any conviction.

    • Pete Alberts

      It may be entirely possible that the court allowed the plea agreement because the so-called victims were entusiastically willing participants. They weren’t twelve year olds. A highschool senior is fully capable of deciding who they want to be with. Granted, the guy broke the law, but remember, it takes two to tango.

  • robert smith

    One less Obama voter.

    • marcusmagnus

      Right, but it’s one FEWER Obama voter!

  • Porcupine

    Will he ever receive any of his state teaching pension, or will start law prevent that? I sure wish that this article had addressed that matter.

  • bob van herik

    plea deals are making our legal system a joke.of course he is not remorseful,he was having the time of his life,drawing a good salary and having sex with girls half his age.i feel very sorry for the young ladies for your wife i hope she gets all your pension,if you still get one and she divorces you while your sitting in your cell.she the one who will have to explain to her children that their dad is a sexual deviant.

    • Anonymous but in the know

      Unfortunately, his wife is as delusional as they come. She is still blaming all of this on the other teacher who caught him in the act. As she was leaving the courtroom after listening to her husband and “soulmate” admit to having sexual contact with underage students and be taken away in handcuffs, she stopped behind the teacher who reported and it and said, “I hope you can LIVE with yourself!!!” I hope you can live with yourself, Mrs. Orland. Your husband cheated on you time and again, preferring the company of 16 and 17 year old girls to yours and hopefully did not start the grooming process with your own daughter. Shame on you for defending him!

      • disheartened

        You might want to look into that other teacher’s history of being involved in stuff like this before you cast judgement. She should be easy to find, she now has his job.

      • keep dreaming

        And if he didn’t have sex with underage students that job would not have been available.

  • where is the justice

    a female teacher has sex with multiple students and everyone thinks “lucky kids!!” and she gets a slap on the wrist.

    a male teacher does the SAME THING and he’s in jail for 12 years.

    ………………where is the justice?

  • disheartened

    Don’t believe everything you read and any of what you hear. There is more to this story than the public will ever know…unfortunately. Plea deals arise because innocent people are victimized by a very broken and easily manipulated legal system. Those who made this happen should be ashamed and students who fail or do not get the grades they want should work harder on their studies and not resort to dispicable strategies of revenge like this. It’s amazing what high school kids will do to avenge each other.

    • keep dreaming

      so you’re going to try to convince us that these girls stole his phone and sent themselves those texts?

      and the other teacher just imagined finding him in the closet with a girl?

      and he was lying when he admitted to fondling one of the girls?

      KEEP DREAMING if you think we’ll believe this is just some girls looking for revenge for a bad grade.

  • disheartened

    Not dreaming but praying this doesn’t happen to anyone else, including you. Try checking the other teacher’s history several years ago when the same accusations were made by her about another male teacher at a different school and she got his job after he was fired and put in prison. She now has Steve’s job also so you might see a pattern. That was the reason for the statement made by Steve’s wife (not named Lyndia) in the courtroom. Why the girls decided to assist, maybe bad grades, who knows? And, the text messages from all phones for all parties for the entire year were subpoenaed but not accessible to anyone involved unless the case went to trial…so by law, the prosecution was not allowed to read them and they have no idea what the texts said. Also, the 27 counts were from the two girls only, not 27 other girls…and they literally detailed every movement that might have had emotional meaning, so much as even a hug or a smile and made a count out of it. He plead to the two fondling counts as a way to avoid years of a long trial with an already tainted public and the possibility of never being a free man again if he couldn’t convince a jury with his word against theirs. For those that don’t believe him, I just pray one day the truth will come out. His family and friends wouldn’t stand by him if the story in the news was at all true. It’s very sad and too late for his life to ever be the same again. He is a good innocent man. You’d lose all faith in the justice system if you were close to this case.

    • keep dreaming

      So let’s put this in perspective……….in order for disheartened’s story to work, here’s the list of people who had to lie

      1. one girl
      2. a second girl
      3. a third girl (one of the victim’s friends)
      4. the other teacher
      5. police
      6. the phone company who recovered thousands of texts
      7. the State’s Attorney
      8. and……(this is my favorite), HIM, Steve Orland, when he admitted it.

      disheartened’s name should be “delusional” if she thinks that makes any sense.

    • Anonymous but in the know

      I have had the privilege of working with the “other teacher” since she herself was a college student. I know her on strictly a professional basis. Disheartened~ not sure where you got your information from but there are several points I would like to clarify.
      1. The other teacher has NOT been given the Director of Bands job. Yes, she is conducting the bands Mr. Orland once did. They can’t conduct themselves. The other director working at the school has less years working at the school and less experience overall. Who else should have been given the job? A choir director? A math teacher?

      2. The other teacher has never been involved in a situation like this before she caught Mr. Orland. Whoever you got your information from is apparently trying to discredit her. She has never “had” another director fired. In reality, she is on good terms with all the other directors she has worked with before coming to West Aurora.

      3. I also have known Mr. Orland professionally for many years. At first I was shocked and dismayed to hear this about someone who I personally admired and liked. However, I am not blinded by his charisma and once I started to hear the evidence, through the court hearings, I began to realize he had another side to him I had never seen. And for that, I am grateful.

  • marc(proud black man)

    Wow a white man acting like a criminal..What is the world coming to.And then refuses to acknowledge any wrong doing.Typical from them.

    • racist much?

      when the papers are filled every day with black people doing the same i’m not surprised you latched onto this one story to bolster the (proud black man) image you have of yourself.





  • REALLY???

    REALLY??? Who takes a plea and basically “asks” to go to prison, especially if they’re truly innocent? Stay free, fight, and take your chances with a trial… unless of course you’re really guilty??? I’m sorry “disheartened”, as much as his family and friends may want to believe that he got railroaded, the reality is he’s serving a 12 year prison sentence for cheating on his “soulmate” with two teenage girls, on school property, during school hours… blaming others doesn’t make it any less true.

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