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Friday, December 16, 2011

Tragedy of Former West Aurora Band Director Steve Orland | Isolated or Sign of the Times?

What the hell was he thinking?

That's probably the most frequent reaction we've heard from our local viewers in Aurora since news broke about West Aurora Band Director Steve Orland being accused of having sexual contact with two different students.

By all reports, Steve Orland was passionate about music and leading the West Aurora Band program, one of the best in Illinois, where he once was a student.  He has been terminated from his position.

The alleged sexual contact was apparently consensual, but would be unlawful due to the age of the girls at the time and his position of authority over the students.

Wouldn't he know better?  And, if he did know what he was doing, why would he risk it all?  Lose his job, get prosecuted and even if he isn't convicted, probably never work in music education again?

Some say it's simple...he didn't think he would get caught.  But, we aren't talking about speeding or other minor offenses.  Regardless of the moral view on Orland's alleged conduct, the fact is the law is very harsh when it comes to these situations.  

Is this situation more serious than what President Bill Clinton did with an intern?  Is it less serious than the allegations against Penn State Coach Jerry Sandusky?  Is this less worse than what many Catholic priests have been accused of doing?

Steve Orland has the right to be presumed innocent under the law unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but is this situation isolated or has society overall veered off-course?

Are these type of situations becoming more common or are we just learning more thanks to technology and sharing of information?

Is this problem just limited to sexual misconduct?

How it that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's administration had two decades of corruption scandals, but yet he had "no control" over ANY of it in a city that everyone knows he controlled everything?

Why would Illinois Rod Blagojevich knowingly be corrupt when the prior Governor was convicted for corruption?

Why would Pat Quinn call him a man of integrity and run for re-election with him when everyone knew there were allegations of corruption?

Why is corruption an epidemic from Chicago to Aurora to Springfield?  Everyone knows it's wrong, yet everyone know it's going on.

Just the other day, an Aurora City Council member (Stephanie Kifowit) traded a vote in exchange for campaign support from Mayor Weisner.  Doesn't she and the mayor know better or do they think everyone else is just too stupid?

We are outraged at sexual misconduct, but shouldn't be similarly outraged when politicians screw taxpayers?

Meanwhile, Daily Herald reports Kane County prosecutors are building their case against Orland and details of their evidence include 47,000 text messages and witnesses who say they saw him alone with each girl in unusual situations.

Orland's attorney says his client is innocent and will fight the admissibility of the text messages, so if he's successful, it means the prosecutors case may rely on the testimony of the girls.

Whatever happens, a school, community, families and people's future are all impacted and it's a tragedy for all concerned.

Steve Orland, what were you thinking?

What are the corrupt politicians and their cronies who enrich themselves at taxpayer expense thinking?

What the hell are all these people thinking?


Anonymous said...

Wow. How many totally unrelated situations can you try to tie together somehow? Was all the bit about bringing up politicians just a way to sneak in a shot at Kifowit? WHY are you SO obsessed w/ her, Openline. All the other, non sexual situation crap you threw in here, might have been a valid post in and of itself, but sticking it in here just muddles the issue.

What was Orland thinking? HE WASN'T!!! He was just responding to instinctual biological urges, which he knew dang well were totally inappropriate.

Is this an isolated incident, and becoming more common? Not really to both. These things have ALWAYS happened, and always will. I think we're just catching it more often -- or at least it's being dealt w/ rather than just glossed over like it used to be.

As far as more or less serious, that really doesn't matter. It's serious. If you really wanted to rank things most to least, I'd go w/ Sandusky & the priests as a tie, then Orland, then Clinton.

Now, as far as all the politcal crap w/ Daley, Quinn, Kifowit, Lawrence, Weisner, etc., etc., pull that out of this post and put it in a post of its own where it belongs, and I'll chime in there.

Anonymous said...

This really is a tragedy for everyone involved. I've met Steve Orland a few times and while I don't know him personally, I was shocked to learn all this. I have mixed views of the girls in this situation. I know they are victims in a legal sense, but they aren't free of any wrongdoing.

Anonymous said...

The post makes an excellent point.

Sexual misconduct and corruption are different areas, but they both have the same attitude in common, which is people feel they can get away with anything and usually it's because they exert power or influence.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the same Stephanie Kifowit who trashed the mayor during her previous campaign suddenly praised his budget when she's trying to get him to help with a fundraiser. I see no difference between this and what Blago has been convicted of.

Anonymous said...

Kifowit is proving to be a political whore. She will do whatever it takes for her selfish reasons. I hope she finishes last in her primary race.

Anonymous said...

All of the people who believe that Steve Orland was a good person until these actions were simply choosing to ignore his behavior, or were fooled by his act. His personal life has been a disaster for a long time (why do you think his wife left him?). He is a compulsive lier and is perhaps the most manipulative person I have ever met. He has mistreated many, many people, and this time he didn't get away with it.

Anonymous said...

Arrogance, pure & simple, is what most high-profile sexual offenders have in common.

As in, they do not believe the rules and expectations of society apply to them.

Anonymous said...

47,000 texts?!?

When the hell did this guy have time to teach?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't she and the mayor know better or do they think everyone else is just too stupid?

We are stupid in this town. Exactly when is the last time an incumbent was defeated on the city council?

Last time we had Kifowit, one of the sleaziest, out for a buck, hustlers IL has ever seen run uncontested in her ward.

Then we had Mike(pizza delivery boy) Saville, one of the most useless, stupid pawns re-electd. Did you notice how the mayor and other members of the council went to bat for him with staged events etc.

Then there was Whitey Peters a useless drain on society his entire life. what has this douche ever done? And yet Dean Myles a wonderful human being loses to friggin' Whitey Peters - how was that possible?

And finally we have mac-daddy wannabee Richard Irvin, a totally disingenuous sleazebag (hey baby I'll represent your husband for a reduced rate if you slide me some sugar) - re-elected!!!


Oh course they think we are idiots - becasue we are!!!!!

So who is going to challenge O'Connor? The Mayor - anyone - any takers? Oh gee maybe Harrington will come to our rescue.

Anonymous said...

Any society that has the willingness to kill its future generations, ie:abortion, will sooner rather than later loose all respect for any laws moral or otherwise. THis is what is powering all the evil in this country today.

Anonymous said...

Then why are the Chinese FLOURISHING?

Anonymous said...

The "flourishing" you describe in China may not be all its cracked up to be. I get at least a dozen financial news letters a week and a lot of them are saying the growth and "flourishing" as you describe it may be a lot of state run propaganda. Just give them time and you will see what happens to a country lopsided with males becomes.

Anonymous said...

Then why are the Chinese FLOURISHING?

Do you like sucking dick? If you are aChisnes man you better lern to enjoy doing so becasue decades of aborting females has lead to a gross shortage of women. Hence you average Chinese man has no chance of seeing the pink paradise and had better appreciate the hersey highway. And this is idea of flourishing, a society where homosexuality is the only realistic outlet for sexual desire.

Yeah, some flourishing...maybe if you are Mike Saville it is your idea of paradise...

Anonymous said...

To the bottom comments, just what in the heck does the mayor, et. have to do with the topic oc this post?

Anonymous said...

To the bottom comments, just what in the heck does the mayor, et. have to do with the topic oc this post?

Uh like did you read the post? Openline asked:

What are the corrupt politicians and their cronies who enrich themselves at taxpayer expense thinking?

The Mayor(pay to play) is a corrupt politician as is Mike Saville (who tips off his relator buddy to properties the city is considering acquiring so they can buy them and make an abnormal profit).

I am just surprised no one has mentioned Kirfowit using cops (gee guess what favors she does for them, slurp slurp, swallow, swallow) as her personal goon squad, Garza using tax payer money to get work for her lover and siccing gang members on those who stand up to her corruption, Keith who sold his vote to developers, Irvin, who cut deals with the police to keep his name out of the papers after be involved in an accident and some malday hanky-panky, Schuler who is involved in construction contract shenanigans, Burns who is slip and fall expert making a fortune off the city with her faked personal injury suits, Peters who is readily blackmaillable because of his gay son, Mervine who is a hand picked loser chosen by the mayor to be his lackey as is Keith's replacement.

Anonymous said...

You are right, I did not read the whole post. Sometimes Openline rattles on too much for me, as bascially stated in the first comment. I stand corrected as you have stated.

Anonymous said...

8:56 - no harm done ;)

Anonymous said...

I couldn't believe this either. I went to college with Steve Orland, and he always seemed to be such a stand up guy. He was never one of those guys that came across like someone who would ever do something like this, but then again when students have major influences on their lives like a college band director who sleeps with students and then marries one half his age, it's no wonder that the behavior rubs off on others. I'm just sorry that it had to be Steve,

Anonymous said...

1/25/12, I also went to Illinois State as a music major, so I know what (and who) you're talking about. But that's no excuse for Steve's behavior. If anything, it should have been an example of what NOT to do & become. Steve has no one to blame but himself (and his own arrogance). He'll have plenty of time to reflect in his jail cell.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I know I'm late to the comment game but this article just pissed me off. First of all, the language you used set Steve as a victim instead of perpetrator. Second, how does one connect sexual assault with political corruption? Sexual assault has a much deeper effect on individuals and communities.

Now on to Steve. I was his student for two years and he creeped me out before he was even charged. He would have oddly intimate relationships with his female band students and people noticed but no one said anything because Steve had such clout around the school. When I first heard about the charges I wasn't surprised. Everyone saw him as this great guy but I felt like everyone was lying to themselves.

Anonymous said...

I think that this situation is just terribly sad for everyone; everyone except Steve Orland who clearly is in denial of the path of destruction that was created for everyone around him.

First and foremost the victims who did not deserve to have their teacher treat them inappropriately. Even though a 16 year old and 17 year old girl might look like a woman, she certainly does not have the maturity of one. It is tragic that this man took advantage of these girls.

There's the tragedy of his family, his wife and children. My heart breaks for his kids who will not know their father because he senselessly did not say no and abused his power as a teacher. My heart breaks for his wife, who loved, and thought she had a wonderful man, only to be deceived by his inexcusable actions.

The tragedy of the students who clearly lost a talented teacher, a man with a very dark side.

The tragedy of broken trust ... the damaged reputation of a good school, and the list goes on.

Steve Orland you should be ashamed that in your final statement you chose to focus yet again on yourself, and avoid the destruction that you and you alone have created.

... you may have been a great teacher... but don't forget ... John Wayne Gacy was a great clown...

Anonymous said...

I don't feel a bit sorry for his wife. Despite heaps of evidence, Mr. Orland confessing not only to his priest, but to many friends, she continues to defend him and insist he is being railroaded. She had placed the blame on the teacher who reported him; I guess the teacher should have looked the other way and put aside their own feelings of concern for his victims. Mr. Orland met with a friend of one of the victims, after he was arrested, to coerce her into "convincing" the victims not to testify against him. Mrs. Orland sat behind this girl in the courtroom, whispering very nasty things to her, calling her a bitch and other things I won't mention on a public forum. Mrs. Orland is as guilty as he is, but she is guilty of stupidity and idiocy. She has a young daughter. Let's hope, for the child's sake, Mr. Orland didn't begin the process with her.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments made...

I did not know about the confessions to friends.. why would he do this if he stated he was innocent. The priest thing is confidential and nobody other than those involved will know that one for sure.

His wife has publically stood by him. That being said, was it for show, until the accusations had been resolved.

If she knew acts had been committed than I agree with your comments. If she was shocked then I feel for her. Interesting comments about her side bar comments in court.

I am terribly sad for their children. I think that prayers for these kids are warranted. It has to be terribly difficult for them all.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it is difficult to really know what Mrs. Orland knew and what she didn't.

We have all been in situations where the obvious isn't so obvious, or where you don't believe something even when it is right in front of you.

I hate to automatically convict her and throw her under the bus with her husband.

Anonymous said...

I'm a former student in more than one way. He was also my trombone teacher. I am now a professional trombonist in part because of the excitement he poured into his work. None of you jerks know him the way his students do. You want to know why his first wife left him? She's a skizzank and a lying cheating female dog. She ruined the mans life; of course he had a hard time after that. If someone tried to ruin you life, take your kid, your house, all your money, and to also run your name through the sewer would't you have a pretty banged up personal life too? There's a huge difference between molesting a 10 year old girl and having consensual sex with a 17 year old woman. Every country in Europe has a maximum age of consent at 16 years old, that includes Great Britain. Those girls new exactly what they were doing and they should be held just as responsible for what they did if we must make a huge deal out of this. Its like my momma always said....."It takes two to tango". Of course he should have lost his job but 12 years in prison for having consensual sex with two 17 year old females? C'mon.....thats way over the top. EVERYONE needs to remember ALL the great things this man did for his community and for his students and not just the two super big mistakes he made along the way. This is a tragedy because nobody cares how many things you do right; the only thing anyone seems to remember is the one thing you do wrong. How many skeletons are in your closet? At the end of the day we all know what we've done. ALSO, for the record.......consensual means the girls were willing participants in the sexual encounter. That means neither one of them are victims. It means they wanted to get sexed up, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

3:18, I also knew Steve Orland for many years and admired him for his musical talent and the way he was able to inspire young musicians. I'm not surprised that many of his former students are speaking out (as you are) on his behalf. And I agree with you that 12 years in prison seems like a harsh sentence for consensual sexual activity with a 17-year-old.

I believe that Steve is mentally ill and in need of psychiatric treatment. His behavior over the past couple of years seems irrational, as though he is out of touch with reality. For example, he was specifically warned by the superintendent that he was too close to female students; that should have sent up a big warning signal to a rational person, but Steve just increased the same activity that got him warned. A janitor reported finding him behind a locked door with a student--again, a rational person would have stepped back and thought "better not do that any more", but not Steve. And there's the more than 47,000 texts that he sent to the students. Maybe he was deluding himself that he was above the law, or pretending he wouldn't be held accountable--in any case, he was not behaving like a mentally healthy person. Here's hoping that he gets the psychiatric help he obviously needs, so that he can once again be able to contribute to society after he serves his sentence!

Anonymous said...

Steve Orland was a PIG! In the 4 years that I was a student of his that disgusting excuse for a "teacher" tried to touch me multiple times. It is no suprise that his male students do not report abuse. He was not interested in them. Without complying with Orland's DISGUSTING remarks and advances you were not considered for higher marks or decent grades. I remember when his wife left him. He refused to discuss the situation in the classromm, however, students were "invited" to ask him "personal questions" regarding the matter after school and in between classes. There are good teachers who have bad reputations d/t students who lie, but steve orland was NOT one of them. I hope that SOB goes to prison for LIFE

Anonymous said...

Aside from my aforementioned comment, Steve Orland took a pledge as a teacher to understand the difference between a YOUNG STUDENT and an interested young female. He is a pig and a pedofile and I hope he gets everything he deserves in prison!!!