Courts

CHICAGO — A former Reed-Custer High School teacher was sentenced to more than five years in federal prison after she pleaded guilty earlier this month for engaging in sexual conduct with an underage boy and directing him to send her sexually explicit images of himself.

Dayna Chidester, 53, of Manhattan, was sentenced to five years, four months on Dec. 10, according to a news release from the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

After her release from prison, Chidester will be on parole for five years.

Chidester was indicted by a federal grand jury in September 2019. She was originally arrested in January 2019 by Will County Sheriff’s Police but those charges were dropped after federal charges were brought.

Chidester taught consumer and family sciences at Reed-Custer High School. She resigned her position a day before she was arrested.

According to the police, Chidester engaged in sexual conduct with the child on numerous occasions in November and December 2018.

“Defendant’s offense was not a one-time lapse in judgment, but an ongoing pattern of criminal activity,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley A. Chung argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “Knowing full well that what she was doing was both reprehensible and criminal, defendant repeatedly victimized a child who trusted the defendant.”

Jeff Bonty is a reporter for The Daily Journal. He can be reached at jbonty@daily-journal.com and 815-937-3366.