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Local

Former Sandwich school bus driver sentenced in child pornography cases

Daniel Lee Aldrich
Daniel Lee Aldrich

YORKVILLE – A Sandwich man who was a former school bus driver for the Sandwich School District 430 has been sentenced to 20 years for possessing and video recording child pornography by a Kendall County judge after taking a plea deal.

Daniel L. Aldrich, 62, of Sandwich was sentenced to 20 total years in the Illinois State Department of Corrections on Tuesday, Jan. 21, according to Kendall County prosecutors and court documents.

Prosecutors said Aldrich pleaded guilty to charges of possession and dissemination of child pornography, a Class X felony, in a 2018 case; two similar charges, both Class X felonies, in a 2019 case; and three unauthorized video recording charges, which were Class 3 and 4 felonies, in a 2019 case.

Aldrich waived his right to a jury trial for the charges in filing the guilty pleas on Tuesday, Jan. 21, according to court documents. His jury trial setting date was originally scheduled for 1 p.m. Feb. 19.

Prosecutors said Aldrich must serve at least ten years in prison before he is eligible for parole.

Aldrich must also serve a minimum of three years of parole after serving his sentence for the Class X felonies he was convicted of, prosecutors said in a Wednesday, Jan. 22 news release.

Kendall County Sheriff's Deputies arrested Aldrich Oct. 25, 2018 and he was transported to the county jail in Yorkville. Aldrich's bond was set at $50,000, and he posted the 10% required and was released on Oct. 26, 2018, according to Kendall County Sheriff's Office records.

Sheriff's detectives began the investigation that led to Aldrich's arrest on July 30, 2018 after they received information based on a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Rick Schmitt, superintendent for Sandwich School District 430, had confirmed in a 2018 email to families that the district learned from law enforcement on Oct. 25 that Aldrich had been detained by police. Schmitt wrote that Aldrich was a bus driver for the district's Millington route.

Additional charges were filed against Aldrich in 2019 for videotaping and photographing naked girls that were younger than 13 years old and between 13 and 18 years old, according to court documents.

Prosecutors said in the Wednesday, Jan. 22 news release Aldrich also set up cameras in his basement and would video tape females changing in his bathroom, some of them being minors.

Aldrich's bond was reduced to $50,000 from an original $100,000 bond after Dan Transier, Aldrich's lawyer, argued it was too excessive for someone with no criminal history who was not a flight risk and had reliable transportation to court, according to court documents. Aldrich posted the 10% required and was released on April 1, 2019.

Prosecutors said it was assumed that Aldrich knew the victims in the 2019 case. However, law enforcement did not believe any students from the Sandwich School District that rode his bus were victims in either of his cases, prosecutors said.

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