Ex-Teacher Pleads Guilty To Sexual Abuse Of Two LZHS Students

Nine months after being accused, Ronald D. Culver is sentenced to two years in prison and two years probation.

Former Lake Zurich High School teacher Ronald D. Culver, 52, was sentenced to two years in prison and two years of probation Aug. 9 after pleading guilty to criminal sexual abuse of two Lake Zurich High School students.

Culver, who taught English and drama, plead guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a Class 2 felony, and an amended charge from aggravated criminal sexual abuse down to criminal sexual abuse, a Class 4 felony, in Lake County Circuit Court.

“It was (Culver's) best possible option and he weighed his choices,” said Steve Simonian, Culver’s attorney.

Lake Zurich police arrested Culver on Oct. 29. He was charged with aggravated sexual abuse against one student. He immediately resigned from Lake Zurich High School. Shortly thereafter, a second student came forward and made a similar claim, according to Lake Zurich police.

Culver posted $25,000 bond, 10 percent of his total bond of $250,000, after his arrest. 

Culver initially was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. According to Simonian, the recommendations made by Judge Daniel B. Shanes during a requested conference in May were “consistent” with the final negotiation between Culver and Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Fred Day.

“Eight counts were dropped, but that was of no consequence to the sentence,” explained Day. “The sentence was an agreed disposition and the families were notified and involved through every step of the process.”

“I didn’t think straight probation was appropriate and (felt) that some corrections time was necessary,” Shanes told Culver during the hearing. “I think you’re amenable. It is the court's duty to punish the offender and protect the community.”

Shanes pointed out that Culver has no prior criminal history.

Culver was taken into custody immediately after the judge accepted the negotiated sentence.

The terms of the sentence include:

  • Culver will have to registered as a sex offender;
  • He is not allowed to have contact with the two victims, their families, anyone that is younger than age 18, or contact any of the Lake Zurich schools;
  • He will not be able to use the Internet;
  • He cannot use drugs or alcohol;
  • He will have to submit to DNA and sexually transmitted disease tests;
  • And he must be cooperative in being evaluated and assessed.

In addition to those terms, Culver also must pay each victim $500 in restitution, as well as court costs and other related fees totaling $6,017.

Simonian requested that Shanes allow Culver to bring a prescription of Cymbalta to jail, which he has taken for anxiety for the past nine months but is not on an acceptable list of medications by the jail. Shanes declined the approval.

“I am not a doctor, but I will order jail medical staff to take care of him,” he said.

Both victims and their families were present in the courtroom. During the final sentencing, family members cried. They watched as Culver emptied his pockets into the contents of a clear plastic bag, preparing to be taken into custody.

Shanes said he is accepting the negotiated sentence for two reasons.

“The acceptance of responsibility — that is the first step towards rehabilitation. And two, the acceptance of responsibility means that the victims in this case do not need to come to court any further and testify," said Shanes.

Culver “has taken responsibility and he’s been punished appropriately,” said Day.

Ellen August 12, 2011 at 11:46 PM
You couldn't possibly know for a fact what goes on behind closed doors. Sounds like you're trying to blame the victims because someone in his 50's wasn't responsible enough to say "no" to what you are trying to say was enticement? Not only is he in his 50's but he was in a position of power and certainly knew that students often get "crushes" on their teachers. He IS a serial child molester and a pedophile. He said so himself.
Ellen August 12, 2011 at 11:49 PM
He denigrated his own reputation.
LZ Soccer Mom August 13, 2011 at 12:44 AM
A crush??? This kid went into his teachers office wearing a pair of gym shorts, with no underwear, propped his leg up on the desk, allowing his privates to fall out of the shorts. And then claimed the teacher touched him. This behaviour after 3 days of acting out, showing up for play practice in daisy duke shorts, a jock strap over shorts, etc. this kid thought that by coming on to the teacher, he would get cast as the lead in the play. when he was told to leave the school and the issue would be reported to the school, (the next day was a school holiday), all of a sudden , the kid decided to report him on these false allegations. Can you even begin to imagine how this mans life has been ruined? When the story held little merit, he dragged his "best friend into this. If it was some other kid besides a best friend, or a kid from a different time period, i would say too, that the teacher is guilty. But this is a hot mess twisted story. Personally, i hope these kids rot in hell for all of their lying and coniving. And Ellen, I hope some kid never becomes vindictive against your husband or son.
LZ Soccer Mom August 13, 2011 at 12:53 AM
His friends and family know the truth. He perjured himself because he had no chance of winning a case, where the minors were not being allowed to be cross examined. He was accused and had no way to prove his innocence, because it was his word against theirs. The 1st kid was smart. There was no case with only him. So he drags what used to be, best friend in it to give his story credibility.
Steadfast August 13, 2011 at 02:56 AM
LZ - It is indeed a hot mess twisted story that will never be made public and the teacher can never be exonerated due to the age of the "victims". I just am disgusted by the vitriolic hatred for a man most of these respondents never met and based on information that is sketchy at best. Labeling someone a child molester and pedophile based on what is read in a newspaper account and making assumptions makes me sad for our society. I have learned throughout this entire experience never again to judge people when I am not personally involved or know all the facts.
Steadfast August 13, 2011 at 03:06 AM
Ellen - Could you please site the newspaper or court paper where Ronald Culver admitted he was a child molester and a pedophile? I think I missed that. You must be very naive to think that everyone who accepts a plea bargain is guilty of the entire crime outlined within. To take two minors to court is a risky and exhaustive endeavor and one where there would be no winners. The legal rule of thumb is this: if the plea bargain is one third what you MIGHT be given after a jury trial (in this case 2 years for the plea, upwards of 7 years for the trial), you are a fool not to take the plea. Culver's lawyer states that his client weighed all his options and chose wisely. It's what is called being between a rock and hard place.
Ellen August 13, 2011 at 04:07 AM
Never said he was guilty of all the counts, He plead guilty. Are you saying that along with everything else about him he is a liar as well? Pleading guilty to a crime you're not guilty of is a lie. This happens to poor people who are beaten into false confessions. Is that what you're claiming happened? And, if these children were just 4 months away from being of age at the time, I would assume they are old enough to decide for themselves if they wanted to be in the courtroom. Anyway, you seem to have some strange interest in this story, which I do not. Maybe I'll become interested again if I read a story explaining why he said he was guilty if he wasn't. But, for now, you have some mysterious source of information which may be real or imagined. You are unwilling to state what it is, So, this is pointless.
Ellen August 13, 2011 at 04:10 AM
We aren't the ones who labeled him. He did that to himself. We didn't require that he register as a sex offender, he did.
Ellen August 13, 2011 at 04:12 AM
My husband or son wouldn't plead guilty.
Steadfast August 13, 2011 at 04:21 AM
Ellen - You are absolutely right. Culver is a liar. He lied when he plead guilty to the second count. He never touched that kid. DA's and judges telling you they would not be happy for you to take this to a jury. Might get 7+ years if you do. What would you do? I'd take the plea. Case closed. Discussion ended. This is pointless.
LZ Soccer Mom August 13, 2011 at 01:31 PM
Steadfast, Ellen reminds me of a prior time, back in the late 1600's ( the Salem Witch Hunt days ). Im not saying that child molestors and abusers dont exist, nor do I believe, their attrocious actions should go unpunished. But its not this case, nor this man.
Steadfast August 13, 2011 at 02:10 PM
LZ - I don't know who you are (don't want to), but you seem to know alot about this case. The National Sex Offender Registry has people listed who raped, kidnapped and murdered children, as well as people who streaked at a frat party. I believe there should be dangerous predators on the list. There is testing available that identifies these people. We have become a society of haters and witch hunters and I feel that sex offenders (which is a broad range of crimes) are the new witches. Use your head people, not everyone on the list is some boogey man looking to hurt your child, in fact about 90% aren't.
Ellen August 13, 2011 at 10:59 PM
I had no involvement at all in determining his fate. That was decided by him, his lawyer and a court of law. You people who think this man is so wonderful, why don't you tell what happened to the poor guy? You can't? You won't? In comments alone I've seen two different stories. 1.) he did nothing and 2.) he made a bad choice. You supporters can't even agree. That's what we have the courts for. There's always someone willing to believe a person is innocent even when he himself gives up his right to claim innocence.
Ellen August 13, 2011 at 11:02 PM
It is your mind that is closed. I would never admit to doing something I didn't do -- especially something like this. Innocent people are willing to go before a jury to preserve their good name.
Ellen August 13, 2011 at 11:11 PM
He was told he might get 7 years??? LMAO! I think you can kill someone and barely get that much time (actual served time).
Ellen August 13, 2011 at 11:14 PM
Give him lots of paper and pencils and let him write over and over again, and this is his choice 1.) I will not perjure myself in a court of law and/or 2.) I will not have innappropriate contact with children, especially, but not limited to, students.
Ellen August 13, 2011 at 11:19 PM
You also implied the victims were 4 months short of being of age. So, which is it? Almost adults who decided they wanted to be in court or innocent little children who would be traumatized by a courtroom???
Ellen August 13, 2011 at 11:23 PM
Seems the father must really believe this man is guilty!
Ellen August 13, 2011 at 11:28 PM
You saw what you saw -- and you didn't see what you didn't see. You think sex offenders act like sex offenders when they are being watched???
Ellen August 13, 2011 at 11:31 PM
You are not say he should continue to teach? Does that mean you're saying he shouldn't?
Ellen August 13, 2011 at 11:51 PM
LZ and Steadfast. If you are so sure that this man is innocent and that the "victims" are actually the guilty ones, then step out from behind your fake Patch IDs and come forward publicly with this story. That's what I would do if I believed one of my family or friends had been wrongly accused. Not willing to do that??? Case closed. Sorry he got such a light sentence or I'm sorry he has such cowards as friends.
Steadfast August 14, 2011 at 03:52 AM
Ellen - since there are minors involved in this story, we cannot legally tell you anything. I would like nothing better than to shout the real truth from the rooftops, but I am unable to do so at this time. As I stated before, I know the truth and really don't care what you or anyone else thinks about Ron Culver.
Ellen August 14, 2011 at 04:05 AM
You sure have spent a lot of time posting for someone who doesn't care what anyone thinks. I think you're a coward. If it were my friend, I wouldn't be stopped by a little legality. Or, perhaps you're just another perv.
Steadfast August 14, 2011 at 04:53 AM
Ellen, Wow, you are really a mean, vindictive person. I am sooooo glad I am not your friend. You think I should break the law to try to convince someone as nasty as you to share my opinion. I could give you every detail I know and your small mindness would still prohibit you from every making an informed decision. As for calling me another perv. Oh please......grow up.
Ellen August 14, 2011 at 05:07 AM
I don't have cowards for friends. No need to convince me of anything. It was the court you should have convinced if you had the kind of info you pretend to have. I'm tired of playing with you. You moan and groan about what happened to this poor man but you keep your mouth shut when you have info to clear him. I will now click on "Stop Following" because it's over and done. He plead guilty. No one stood up for him. I don't know him. I couldn't care less. And it is pointless to try to discuss anything with someone who claims to know it all but can't talk.
LZ Soccer Mom August 15, 2011 at 08:18 PM
I dont think ellen is out for truth, or she wouldnt have drawn her line in the sand. I think she is out for gossip. In either case, its okay she's off this thread. The world needs less haters and negativity.
Steadfast August 15, 2011 at 11:56 PM
LZ - Thanks for your support. Ellen is just a mean, hateful person who I am glad is not one of my friends. People who immediately go for the jungular without knowing all the facts show their ignorance by doing so. You and I seem to know the truth about this case. I'm glad there are people who are willing to think there might be more to this case than is reported.
former drama dad September 26, 2011 at 03:26 PM
Both of my children had Ron Culver between 1999 & 2004. They had hoped the news was not true and felt he would have trouble in LZ once they heard he had "come out". Being of a different faith than most in this town, we know it is not exactly an accepting community. That said, we did have an issue with Ron Culver that was reported to the school back in 2004. Our child was in 1 play and decided that there was too much drama in the drama department. Because Ron Culver felt "jilted" by our child not trying out for more plays, a semester grade of a "D" was given despite quarterly grades of A's and B's. I don't remember the final exam grade, but I believe it was a "C". Regardless, it didn't add up. We went in and spoke to the administration and got that straightened out with a tearful apology from Ron. During our meeting, we also relayed that we felt Ron was inappropriate in describing sexual encounters with women he was seeing to our child. Nothing was done in this regard. Maybe they thought we were just speaking out of anger with the grade situation. Not living in a shell, we knew these stories about escapades with women were untrue, yet still inappropriate. A good or great teacher does not do these things. My family had still hoped that this was not true, and just the result of a persons sexuality that was not the same as most in this town of LZ. The guilty plea however says it all. We feel badly for everyone involved.
rick gilpin December 22, 2011 at 09:31 PM
I am way behind on this issue, but Ron was a very good friend of mine. I knew a lot about him and his desired lifestyle. I'm shocked at this whole thing. I just thought of him today after 30 years and decided to Google him and this is what I find. Being a retired teacher I know how those of us in the arts can become very very close and attached to our students as well as their parents. I have no idea what to believe as it's been many years since I've talked with him. If I had a phone number I'd call him this minute to offer my support.
D. Gribble April 10, 2013 at 10:51 PM
Culver has been to my house several times, as my sibling was heavily involved with the LZHS drama department. The man was an egomaniac. I have no trouble believing he committed this deplorable abuse of power.


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