Rockford man accused of molesting children was DCFS employee

October 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

Rockford man accused of molesting children was DCFS employee


(photo) NESTOR ESTRADA 2013

Nestor D. Estrada

By Corina Curry
Posted Oct 07, 2013 @ 07:52 PM
Last update Oct 07, 2013 @ 10:03 PM

The former Rockford School District substitute teacher who was accused last week of molesting two students also worked for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services for nearly 18 years.

Karen Hawkins, DCFS deputy director for communications, confirmed today that Nestor D. Estrada, 47, of Rockford, was a DCFS employee from July 1990 to April 2008.

The charges against Estrada, two counts of criminal sexual child abuse, stem from alleged incidents that took place between Sept. 1 and Dec. 11, 2012, at Riverdahl Elementary School.

Hawkins would not say what Estrada did for the agency or the manner in which he left the agency’s employment.

While Estrada’s criminal charges stem from allegations involving two children – a boy and a girl, now ages 5 and 6 – Hawkins said the DCFS investigation involved three Rockford School District students.

“On Dec. 13 last year, DCFS received a report of alleged abuse of three Rockford School District students by school staff,” Hawkins said. “DCFS completed the investigation in April 2013 with a finding that abuse was indicated involving all three victims.”

The Illinois State Board of Education was notified, Hawkins said. Services were offered to the victims and their families and Estrada’s name was placed on the DCFS state central registry of known offenders.

The registry is used for background checks, Hawkins said.

Estrada was on a long-term substitute teacher assignment at Riverdahl Elementary School in the fall of 2012. He was a bilingual special-education substitute teacher, assigned to the two students from the criminal complaint as part of their individualized education programs.

During a news conference last week, Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato said Estrada was a substitute teacher in the 1990s, as well. According to Rockford School District officials, he was a girls and boys soccer coach at Auburn High School from 1991 to 1998.

Parents of the two children named in the criminal complaint reported the abuse to Riverdahl School Dec. 12, school officials said. The district put Estrada on unpaid administrative leave. He was fired March 6.

All Rockford substitute teachers go through a state-mandated background check before they are allowed in the classroom. Some use the DCFS central registry, Hawkins said.

Estrada is due to appear in court Oct. 24.

According to the criminal complaint, Estrada inappropriately touched both victims. If found guilty, he faces a punishment that ranges from probation to three to seven years in prison.

The investigation into Estrada and his interaction with students is ongoing. Anyone with any information about this case or about Estrada should contact Rockford police, 815-987-5824.

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