July 17, 2024
Crime & Courts | Northwest Herald

Crime & Courts

Registered sex offender accused of playing Santa in Huntley

Crystal Lake man admitted to fondling boy in Woodstock

WOODSTOCK – A former substance abuse counselor and convicted sex offender formally denied a charge Wednesday that accused him of playing Santa Claus for a Huntley animal shelter.

Taylor L. Blaul, 32, of the 5700 block of Aspen Court, Crystal Lake, was charged Dec. 4 with participating in a holiday event as a child sex offender. Blaul is accused of wearing a Santa costume at a holiday party for the Animal House Shelter, where children younger than 18 were present.

He was arraigned on the Class 4 felony and pleaded not guilty before McHenry County Judge Michael Feetterer. Blaul faces up to four years in prison if convicted of the charge.

Blaul previously pleaded guilty in June 2015 to aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a Class 2 felony. He was arrested in July 2014, shortly after he was seen kissing a young boy at the Woodstock city pool. The boy told investigators that Blaul had fondled him on more than one occasion and that the abuse started in September 2013.

Blaul was sentenced to four months in McHenry County Jail and three years on probation, in addition to having to register as a sex offender for life. He also was ordered to not have contact with the victim or his family.

Blaul formerly worked at Direct Counseling, one of several agencies that conducts alcohol, substance abuse and anger management evaluations for criminal defendants, but he was fired after his arrest.

He is out on bond and next due to appear in court March 1.