Bonnstetter working despite charges

Mark Bonnstetter is still employed as Eastern’s associate athletic director for operations and head athletic trainer, the Eastern athletic department said Thursday.

Bonnstetter was charged in a Dec. 11 hearing with two felonies and one misdemeanor following a Nov. 25 incident at 2 Woodfield Lane in Charleston.

Bonnstetter, 38, of 20 Woodfield Lane, was arrested on Nov. 28 by a peace officer on alleged charges of criminal trespass to a residence after a warrant was issued for his arrest, according to Coles County Court records.

The other two charges were filed at the Dec. 11 hearing.

Bail was set at $2,500, which Bonnstetter posted, according to court records.

Bonnstetter was also ordered to stay off the premises of 2 Woodfield Lane and not to have contact with one of the two alleged victims.

Calls to Assistant State’s Attorneys Brian Shaw and John Longwell were not returned Thursday.

According to the court records under the alleged charge of criminal sexual abuse, a Class A misdemeanor, Bonnstetter is allegedly said to have “placed his hands in the pajama bottoms” of one of the alleged victims.

Also according to court records, Bonnstetter was charged with residential burglary because he allegedly “knowingly and without authority entered the dwelling place” of the alleged victim “with the intent to commit therein a felony (criminal sexual abuse).”

Bonnstetter’s lawyer, Ron Tulin, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The Daily Eastern News tried to obtain a copy of the police report Tuesday, but could not. A Charleston Police Department official said Thursday that copies of police reports are provided if there has been an arrest.

The athletic department is referring the matter to the university, describing it as a “personnel matter.”

President Lou Hencken is out of town on vacation and could not be reached for comment. However, Vice President of External Relations Jill Nilsen said, “all university comment will come from Vicki Woodard.”

Woodard is the university’s chief of communications.

Nilsen also said she believes Bonnstetter is an administrative professional and they do not have a union representative.

Woodard said she thinks the same union that university faculty represents some administrative professionals, but she is unsure.

If the matter dealt with a faculty member who was represented by the union, the union would not represent them in a criminal case said Charles Delman, president of the University Professionals of Illinois.

However, if the person was put on leave of pay, Delman said, it could be viewed as a sanction and the union might be involved.

It is unclear whether Bonnstetter is a member of the union.

However, Delman said that faculty contracts state that a faculty member can be terminated in the interest of public safety or if the member is ill and unable to complete job requirements.

Shane Hawkins, former assistant men’s basketball coach at Barton County Community College in Great Bend, Kan., was put on leave because he was indicted in a case involving lying to a federal grand jury about athletes receiving money from work-study jobs they didn’t perform. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale had an athletic employee charged with a crime take administrative leave in October 2005.

“There’s not a manual to go by,” said Tom Weber, SIUC’s media services director. “He went on administrative leave with pay.”

Kent Brown, assistant athletic director and head of media relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said if a situation similar to this at the University of Illinois happens, each case is handled individually.

The athletic director would then meet with the individual person concerned, Brown said.

Calls to public affairs officials at the University of Illinois to further discuss what would happen were not returned.

Bonnstetter assumed the role of Eastern associate athletic director for operations in June 2006.

He has been at Eastern since 2000 as head athletic trainer, coming from the University of Miami (Fla.).

Director of Athletics Rich McDuffie said in a statement that since Bonnstetter assumed his new position of associate athletic director for operations, “he has had minimal, if any contact with student athletes on a one-on-one basis as an athletic trainer.”

However, McDuffie did state Bonnstetter occasionally “advises students who may be setting up preparation for athletic events” such as basketball or football games.

In the same statement, McDuffie said Bonnstetter is in charge of “three or four athletic trainers and graduate assistants” as part of his duties as head athletic trainer.