Former Brooks Middle School music teacher Edward Bell pled guilty in Cook County Circuit Court last Wednesday to a single charge of criminal sexual assault involving a then-13-year-old girl. As part of that plea agreement, 15 other charges against Bell were dropped.

Maybrook Circuit Court Judge Gregory Ginex subsequently sentenced him to nine years in prison. Due to the predatory nature of Bell’s crime and his position as a teacher, Bell must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence. Bell, 50, who now resides in Wheaton, faced 4-15 years in prison.

Bell, a six-year veteran music teacher and orchestra conductor at Brooks Middle School, met the girl when she was a seventh-grader at Brooks. He sexually assaulted the girl at a number of locations, including a practice room at Brooks Middle School between December 2003 and March 2004. He was arrested on April 8, 2004. District 97 officials were in the process of firing him when he resigned his position on April 28.

“He held a position of trust and authority,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Maureen O’Brien last Thursday. “He used his office to take advantage of his student.”

O’Brien said that her office was satisfied with the conclusion of the case, calling it “a fair and just result.”

“He’s now a disgraced former teacher … and he shouldn’t be around kids any longer,” she added.

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