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Local

Fired coach charged with criminal sexual assault

PRINCETON — A former Princeton High School softball coach and custodian was fired and later charged with criminal sexual assault this past fall for allegedly having sexual relations with a student athlete who was between the ages of 13 and 18.

Brik A. Wedekind, 27, of Princeton pleaded not guilty to the Class 1 felony in November. If found guilty, he would face 4 to 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections with no chance for parole.

Wedekind’s story first broke on Oct. 16, when Princeton High School Superintendent Kirk Haring announced the Princeton Police Department was investigating an alleged inappropriate relationship between an employee and a student, and that the employee was no longer working at the school.

A week later, the school board met and approved to dismiss employee “#002004.” The school board and Haring declined to reveal the identity of the employee that evening. The Bureau County Republican sent a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request to Haring, the district’s FOIA officer, the next morning.

Donald M. Craven of Springfield, general counsel for the Illinois Press Association, was asked to comment on the matter. He said the school board’s action might not have been in line with the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

On Oct. 26, Princeton Police Department announced Wedekind was charged by criminal information with criminal sexual assault following an investigation. He turned himself in that afternoon at the Bureau County Jail where he posted a cash bond of $70,000/10 percent.

Three days later, Haring responded to BCR’s FOIA request and revealed employee “#002004” was Wedekind.

On Nov. 14, Wedekind appeared in Bureau County Circuit Court for the first time and pleaded not guilty to the Class 1 felony. His jury trial is set for April 8.

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