A Richmond-Burton High School teacher has been charged with misdemeanor counts of battery and disorderly conduct this week after police allege he touched a student’s buttocks in September, court records show.
An arrest warrant was issued for Ryan Carlson, 47, of Hebron, a science teacher and coach at the Richmond high school, on Tuesday and Carlson turned himself in on Wednesday, Richmond police Sgt. Jennifer Fillicaro said.
On Thursday morning, the Richmond-Burton School District 157 Superintendent Thomas Lind sent an email to high school parents, informing them of the charges.
“Upon the report of allegations against this teacher, the administration immediately removed the teacher from the classroom and contacted (Illinois Department of Children and Family Services) and the police to begin an investigation,” the email states.
“We are continuing to work closely with the police and the office of the State’s Attorney as they perform their duties,” Lind said.
An email from Principal Michael Baird, sent Thursday afternoon, noted that the student services department was available for students who needed to speak with a social worker.
The complaints, filed Tuesday, allege that Carlson approached a student in the school’s hallway on Jan. 14 and talked to her about her outfit, at one point physically opening the flannel shirt she was wearing and pushing it back around her waist.
Carlson faces the disorderly conduct and one of the battery charges in relation to this incident.
The second complaint, leading to the second battery charge, alleges that on Sept. 21, Carlson approached a Richmond-Burton student from behind during class and touched the student’s buttocks with his open hand.
Carlson received a written warning from the district following the January incident, records obtained by the Northwest Herald through the Freedom of Information Act request show. In the letter, the district states that the student’s parent reported “an inappropriate interaction.”
The student said she was at her locker that morning before the school day began when Carlson approached her and was asked about the outfit she was wearing, the letter states. When another student also approached, she also was asked about her outfit.
“Mr. Carlson proceeded to approach [redacted] and open her flannel shirt with both hands and push the shirt behind her waist,” the letter states.
The letter warns Carlson that any additional instances of a similar nature may result in further disciplinary action, including possible termination.
Carlson was hired ahead of the 2005-06 school year after moving to the area from Minnesota for his wife’s work, records from his personnel file show. He was appointed the head girls track coach in June 2017 after serving as an assistant cross country coach
He made about $87,000 in the 2021-22 school year, according to the district’s annual salary and benefit report.
In 2016, Carlson was named by the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association as North Division Class 1A Girls Coach of the Year. He also is a past union president of the Richmond Teachers Association.
A call to a phone number associated with Carlson was not returned Thursday.
The Richmond Police Department was contacted by a school employee on Sept. 23, reporting an interaction with a minor female student and a staff member, Fillicaro said. The staff member was removed from the school property “immediately,” she said.
During their investigation, police learned that there had been alleged inappropriate contact with another student earlier in the school year, she said.
”We immediately began investigating both incidents,” she said.
The department has been working closely with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office for about three weeks, Fillicaro said, noting there were a lot of people to talk to for the investigation.