Ex-D.168 schools chief released from prison

Thomas E. Ryan placed on mandatory supervised release
2008-03-15T00:00:00Z Ex-D.168 schools chief released from prisonJOAN CARREON
Times Correspondent
March 15, 2008 12:00 am  • 

After serving more than two years of an eight-year jail sentence, a former Sauk Village school superintendent was released from prison Friday morning.

Thomas E. Ryan ended his confinement at the minimum security East Moline Correctional Center about 8:50 a.m.

Ryan has been placed on mandatory supervised release for two years. His behavior will be monitored by a parole agent, and he is required to undergo anger management counseling and, if necessary, mental health counseling, said Ken Tupy, an attorney for the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

The board has recommended Ryan be under close supervision, and he cannot go on school property without permission, Tupy said.

Attempts to reach Ryan were unsuccessful. A call to attorney Patrick J. Cotter, who represented Ryan at the time of his sentencing, was not returned.

Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Januari Smith confirmed Ryan's release but said she could not give out any details about where Ryan plans to live.

Matt Vanover, spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Education, said that because Ryan's education credentials have been permanently revoked by the state superintendent, he cannot return to teaching or serve as a school administrator.

Ryan, who was sentenced in November 2005 after pleading guilty to felony theft, had served as District 168's superintendent from 1989 until 2005, when a criminal investigation into the district's finances led to the felony charges. Charges also were brought against former School Board President Louise J. Morales and former building and grounds supervisor Edward Bernacki.

Ryan was the only one of the three defendants to receive prison time.

Cook County prosecutors said Ryan used district money to -- among other things -- pay for the college education of his three daughters, buy $1,000 in tickets to hockey games, and treat his friends to dinners and drinks.

As part of a settlement agreement with District 168, Ryan resigned his superintendent position, released the School Board from any responsibility it had to him under his employment agreement, and paid the district $400,000 in restitution.

District 168 Board President Arleta Bazile said the district has "moved on" since Ryan's departure.

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