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Bill Jones, Editor
4:08 pm CST December 4, 2019

A Center School custodian has been arrested after police determined he allegedly abused a student last month at the Orland Park elementary school.

David F. Kalas, 60, of 233 Blackthorn Road in Matteson, was charged with predatory criminal sexual abuse, a Class 2 felony, according to a press release issued Dec. 4 by the Orland Park Police Department.

Police reportedly received notification from Orland School District 135 on Nov. 22 of an incident at the school, 9407 W. 151st St. in Orland Park, between the custodian and a student. Kalas was put on immediate administrative leave by the district while police conducted an investigation, according to the release.

The investigation reportedly revealed Kalas made physical contact, above the clothing, with the student. Kalas was arrested Dec. 3 at his home, without incident, police said.

Lt. Ken Rosinski said the charge stems from a single incident which is thought to have taken place “around the same time” as the notice from the district. The custodian is not suspected of abusing any other students at this time, Rosinski added.

Judge John J. Mahoney ordered Kalas be held without bail during a hearing Dec. 4 at the Cook County Courthouse for the Fifth Municipal District in Bridgeview. He has a return court date of Dec. 30.

Police said because of the sensitive nature of the investigation and in the interest of protecting the victim’s identity, more information will not be released. Center School teaches students in grades K-2.

Interim Superintendent John Bryk shared with The Orland Park Prairie a statement sent to families and staff, which includes the police department’s press release. He further noted Kalas was hired in January 2017, and a “thorough” background check was conducted. Bryk told The Prairie by email that Kalas was assigned to Prairie School first and started at Center School, in particular, in July 2019.

“I am disheartened by this event, as safety is always our first priority,” Bryk wrote in the email.

He further noted to The Prairie that the student’s family has been offered counseling services.

Bryk confirmed Monday, Dec. 9, that Kalas’ employment was terminated that afternoon during a special meeting of the School Board.

The Prairie had filed a Freedom of Information Act Request on Dec. 4, asking for any “communications within the district from November and December 2019 including or regarding Center School custodian David F. Kalas, as well as any documents associated with his administrative leave, as well as any documents associated with a resignation or termination of Kalas’ employment.”

D135 responded the following day with the notice of Administrative Leave issued “via hand-delivery” to Kalas — dated Nov. 25 but effective Nov. 22. It notes he was placed on leave “while an investigation is conducted regarding allegations against you of inappropriate student contact.” It also ordered he not be present on district property unless requested by administration nor have contact with other employees with the exception of a union representative.