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Crime & Courts

Sentencing of former Crystal Lake Central teacher delayed by letters from ex-students

Defense attorney asks judge to read more than 20 flattering letters about ex-choir-director

Justin Hubly
Justin Hubly

The sentencing of a former Crystal Lake Central High School teacher was halted Friday when his attorney requested the judge read a stack of letters containing kind words about the ex-teacher.

One of the young women Justin Hubly was found guilty of inappropriately touching and giving alcohol to, was seated and ready to give a statement at the sentencing Friday.

Before the hearing started, however, defense attorney, Henry Sugden submitted more than 20 letters from Hubly’s former students and colleagues. Sugden said the letters came from people “around the country” and asked that Judge Robert Wilbrandt read each of them before handing down a sentence.

“I’ve got 23 [letters] right now but apparently there’s more coming,” Sugden said.

The letters, many of which are multiple pages, detail how Hubly has “affected their lives” and “helped them out,” Sugden said.

Before turning over the letters Friday, Sugden fought for a new trial, claiming Hubly signed a document protecting him from criminal prosecution before entering a conversation with District 155 officials. Sugden said Hubly provided information that helped police investigate the case and later charge his client. The request was denied. Hubly is scheduled for sentencing July 6. In the meantime, court employees will gather a kind of “social history” – details about Hubly’s personal life that could help inform the judge’s ruling.

Wilbrandt found Hubly guilty April 27 of inappropriately touching former students and serving them alcohol at his home.

The charges stemmed from claims that the former teacher hosted get-togethers at his Crystal Lake home, where he provided groups of mostly 19-year-olds with tequila and rum, and on two occasions, allegedly inappropriately touched young women.

He was found guilty on all but one of five counts of giving alcohol to a minor. Hubly was convicted on battery charges in each case.

The judge wrote in his written decision that Hubly appeared to have been a good teacher but crossed a “sometimes blurry line” between mentor and friend.

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