Former teacher charged with kidnapping, sexual assault
Updated: April 2, 2012 6:04PM
Cicero police have charged an Aurora woman with kidnapping and criminal sexual assault of a Cicero girl.
Laureth “Laurie” May, 29, was in custody late Wednesday in the Cook County jail on $500,000 bail.
May left her home in the 200 block of Plum Street in Aurora in the early morning hours of Feb. 16, after an argument with her fiance. She took her three young sons with her, as well as Destiny Gruba, 17, of Cicero.
On March 20, Gruba and May were identified by Florida state troopers who had pulled the two over for a traffic stop in Florida. Florida police identified Gruba from information provided by the Cicero police and took May, Gruba and the three children — all younger than 5 — into custody.
The children are now with their father, Shelton Collins, May’s fiance. No charges have been filed against May by Aurora police.
Gruba is a former student of May, who was employed at Acacia Academy in LaGrange Highlands, in unincorporated western Cook County.
Collins said Wednesday that he did not know that May had been charged.
“Wow,” Collins said. “I think what she did was wrong, but this is just not Laurie.”
He said he felt that a $500,000 bail was too high and unfair in May’s case.
May suffered from post-partum depression and was unstable after losing her job, Collins said.
“She’s a good mother. A good fiancee,” he said.
“She had problems with alcohol. Three kids in four years. The economy. It’s a lot,” he said.
He said May was not thinking clearly when she took the children.
“She’s not in her right mind,” Collins said. “She needs her day in court.”
Collins said he has not seen May since she left Aurora with their sons. He flew to Florida to get the boys after they were found. He said the boys were in good health when he met them.
“The kids think they went on a vacation. But to me it (was) something totally different,” Collins said.
Cicero police said their investigation found May engaged in sexual relations with an under-age female student — whom police would not identify — while she was employed at the school. She began teaching the student, who was then 16, in September 2011, police said, and the relationship turned sexual in December.
Collins said he does not believe May would have a sexual relationship with a student.
“I really don’t. Laurie’s the type of teacher who really got to know her students ... but I don’t think it’s anything sexual,” he said.
May was charged with kidnapping and criminal sexual assault after the charges were approved by the Cook County state’s attorney.
Police said May gave a full account of the events surrounding the multi-state travels with her three sons and Gruba, as well as details of the relationship between her and a student. May waived extradition in Florida and was transported to Illinois last week.