A Crystal Lake couple whose adult son is now a convicted sex offender agreed on Tuesday to settle a civil lawsuit in which they were accused of negligence for not preventing him as a minor from sexually abusing another child on their property during the 1990s.
William and Linda Blaul each were accused in the civil lawsuit of “negligent supervision” by not keeping their son Taylor L. Blaul from sexually abusing the plaintiff. But moments before opening statements in the case were set to start on Tuesday, attorneys for both sides announced they had reached a settlement. Details were not made public.
Lawrence Finn, an attorney for the plaintiff, and Brian White, who was representing the Blauls, entered the courtroom and approached McHenry County Judge Kevin Costello with an order indicating there would be no trial. Both attorneys, who were in the courtroom without their clients, declined to explain why the trial was not moving forward, other than to say there was a resolution.
William and Linda Blaul are counselors at Direct Counseling, with sites in Woodstock and Crystal Lake. The agency provides alcohol, substance abuse and anger management evaluations for criminal defendants.
A civil lawsuit was filed against the couple in 2016 by a person claiming they had been sexually abused by their son when each was a minor in the mid 1990s, according to the complaint filed in the McHenry County courthouse.
The plaintiff claimed to be sexually abused from ages of 5 and 10 between the years of 1991 and 1996, according to the lawsuit.
The person, who is now age 36, claimed that at the time of the alleged abuse Taylor Blaul was two years older, 40 pounds heavier and six inches taller during the years of the alleged abuse.
No criminal charges have been filed against Taylor Blaul, now 38, in this case. In 2014, Taylor Blaul, who lived in Woodstock at the time and also worked as a substance abuse counselor for Direct Counseling, was charged criminally with molesting an 11-year-old child in a different case, according to court documents.
In 2015, Taylor Blaul was sentenced to four months in county jail and three years of probation after entering into a negotiated guilty plea to one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child younger than 13, according to court documents.
In that case, Taylor Blaul, 29 at the time, was arrested shortly after he was seen kissing the child at a Woodstock city pool, prosecutors said at the time. In exchange for his guilty plea, three additional counts of the same charge were dismissed, according to court documents. Blaul was eligible for up to seven years in prison.
Blaul was ordered to register as a sex offender for life, undergo sex offender counseling and have no contact with the child or their family. He also was not allowed to be at functions where there are children under the age of 18, as part of the sex offender registration.
He later pleaded guilty to being a sex offender at a holiday party and was sentenced to two years of probation, according to court documents.
In the recent civil case against Blaul’s parents the plaintiff accused each parent separately of “negligent supervision of the minor Taylor L. Blaul – sexual abuse.”
The Blauls “had a legal duty to exercise reasonable care in the supervision and care of [their] minor child Taylor L. Blaul ... to prevent [him] from causing harm to other children including the plaintiff,” according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiff claimed the abuse occurred at the Blauls’ home and on their 4-acre property located in the 5700 block of Aspen Court in Crystal Lake. They claimed Taylor Blaul displayed “unusual behaviors,” preferred playing with younger children, would “isolate” them in areas of the property, showed them pornography, then sexually abused and exploited them, according to the complaint.
The plaintiff referred to the couple’s higher education and work as counseling professionals with years of clinical experience and said they should have known their son had “a propensity to sexually abuse younger children and/or was sexually abusing other children including the plaintiff.”