Reed Custer School District officials have released information regarding the arrest of two former teachers. On January 4, Dayna Chidester, 50, of Manhattan, was charged with six counts of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse, all class two felonies, one count of Indecent Solicitation of a Child, a class three felony and one count of Unlawful Grooming, a class four felony.
During the investigation by the Manhattan Police Department, a 14-year-old male victim stated the relationship with Chidester included messages and photos sent electronically as well as sexual contact on numerous occasions. Chidester was a high school teacher at Reed-Custer School District in Braidwood at the time the alleged conduct occurred, but the victim is not a Reed-Custer student.
During a separate Braidwood Police Department investigation, Braidwood Police Chief Nick Ficarello said they received information that Chidester had contacted a student about the possibility of obtaining drugs from that student via a text message, however, no drugs were exchanges. Ficarello also said Chidester allegedly had contacted at least five other students as the investigation remains ongoing. Chidester submitted her resignation the day before she was arrested.
In early December 2018, Kevin Macha, 28, of Joliet, was arrested and charged with one count of possessing child porn. Investigators received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in August that Macha was using a social media platform to share child pornography.
During a police interview, Macha made incriminating statements and has since bonded out of the Will County Jail. Macha had been teaching music for grades 5 through high school at Reed-Custer School District since August of 2015 and served as Band Director for the Joliet American Legion, but the charge levied against him does not involve any Reed-Custer students.
Superintendent Mark Mitchell said a thorough hiring process is completed prior to any candidate being recommended to the Board of Education for approval. This process includes, but is not limited to, an applicant completing an online application, providing references, and completing a criminal background check.
Both Macha and Chidester came to the district with positive references and completely clean criminal background checks. Mitchell said once positive references, transcripts, and credentials are received, criminal background checks are conducted, and once individuals are employed by the Board of Education, the district cannot control their non-work related activities.