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Pekin High AD returns to work after child endangerment arrest

A screen shot from Google Maps street view shows Pekin Community High School.
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A screen shot from Google Maps street view shows Pekin Community High School.

Pekin High School athletic director Cole Stoner has returned to work following his arrest last month for child endangerment.

According to a statement from Pekin Community High School District 303 Superintendent Danielle Owens, Stoner had been on administrative leave as the district investigated the matter.

Tazewell County court records show Stoner, 36, was arrested March 29 and charged Monday with endangering the life or health of a child, a Class A misdemeanor. In Illinois, conviction of a Class A misdemeanor carries a sentence of up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

The statement from Owens says Stoner was off-duty when he was arrested on suspicion of consuming alcohol before driving a vehicle with his child as a passenger. He has not been charged with driving under the influence or any other offense.

“The investigation revealed that Mr. Stoner consumed alcohol while sitting in his parked car waiting for an oil change at a local oil change facility,” the statement read. “Mr. Stoner has denied that he was intoxicated but has acknowledged that his actions demonstrated very poor judgment.”

Owens’ statement says Stoner informed the school of his arrest the next day. Reached by WCBU, Stoner declined to provide any additional comment.

The statement says the district’s initial investigation is complete, but the matter remains under review pending the outcome of Stoner’s case.

“The Board of Education and administration of Pekin High School are disappointed with Mr. Stoner’s actions and he has been reprimanded for his conduct and provided clear expectations for future conduct in the strongest possible terms,” Owens said in the statement.

“With that said, Mr. Stoner has been an exemplary employee at PCHS during his tenure prior to this incident and he is entitled to the presumption of innocence while his court case is pending like any other citizen.”

Stoner has served as Pekin’s AD since July 2022. He has a court appearance scheduled on May 9.

Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.