4 St. Charles youth center guards charged with inciting youth fights, robberies
Four guards at the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles are accused of pitting a group of young inmates against others in beatings and robberies as the guards "stood idly by during the attacks," prosecutors announced Monday.
The guards, all on paid leave, also are accused of attacking the inmates as well.
Indictments were handed down Nov. 22 against Michael Klimek, 40, of the 100 block of Tuma Road, Yorkville; Andre L. McFarland, 31, of the 4500 block of Hitching Post Trail, Rockford; Johan O. Asiata, 30, of the 26000 block of South Rachel Road, Channahon; and Elliot Short, 34, of the 1900 block of Oak Street, St. Charles.
Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said in a news release the attacks took place almost a year ago, on Jan. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 28. In all, there are 10 victims, he said.
The charges against the four are numerous and some include battery on public property, failing to report a threat to the safety of an inmate, allowing residents to rough house, bringing contraband onto youth center property, unlawful restraint, and theft.
Klimek, whom authorities believe was the ringleader, faces 76 felony charges overall, including 53 counts of official misconduct, 18 counts of aggravated battery, three counts of unlawful restraint, one count of mob action and one county of theft, records show.
Hearing last week that the charges were imminent, the Daily Herald contacted Christine Rothwell, acting superintendent at the youth center. She declined to comment and deferred questions to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. A woman who answered the phone in Rothwell's office Monday said Rothwell was unavailable, had no comment, and again referred inquiries to the juvenile justice department. That agency, in turn, deferred questions back to the state's attorney's office.
The misconduct charges accuse each defendant of intentionally or recklessly failing to perform mandatory duties as required by law and knowingly performing an action which the defendant knows is forbidden by law to perform, records show.
The most severe charges of official misconduct carry a punishment of two to five years in prison upon conviction, but probation also is an option.
All four were arrested Wednesday and Thursday and have posted bail to be released from the Kane County jail.
McFarland is due in court on Wednesday. Short and Asiata are due in court Dec. 7 and 8, respectively. Klimek is due in court Dec. 5.
The youth center, 3825 Campton Hills Road, is a medium-security facility for male juveniles. The average age of an inmate is 16 and the average daily population is 328 people; the youth center has a 348-person capacity, according to the state's website.