#teacher | Joliet West Math Teacher Charged In Ex-Boyfriend’s Attack


JOLIET, IL — A Joliet West High School math teacher is charged with six crimes in connection with the Dec. 1 beating of her ex-boyfriend at his house in Joliet, court records show. A Will County grand jury returned an indictment against Ashlee Catalani, 33, and a 41-year-old man from Crest Hill, Ponciano Vargas.

Catalani spent Thursday, Jan. 9 in the Will County Jail before posting 10 percent of her $15,000 bail later that night. Vargas, who lives in the 2400 block of Ingalls Avenue, was arrested by Joliet Police on the night of Dec. 1. Vargas was released from custody the following day after posting 10 percent of his $15,000 bail, jail logs show.

Last week, the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Catalani and Vargas as co-defendants in last month’s attack of Catalani’s former boyfriend.

The pair are charged with: aggravated battery, criminal trespass to a vehicle, two counts of criminal damage to property, criminal trespass to a residence and battery.

The criminal complaint indicates that Catalani’s ex-boyfriend was attacked by Vargas at the 34-year-old victim’s house on Timber Ridge Court.

In the same complaint, Catalani is also accused of attacking another woman on Dec. 1 “in that said defendant pulled the hair of” the woman.

According to an order of protection petition against Catalani, her ex-boyfriend stated that he was at his home on the night of Dec. 1, “And Ashlee drove a man to my house. She and this man used the code to my home to gain entry. She has the code to my house. Once they were inside, he punched me repeatedly and did criminal damage to property.”

The ex-boyfriend also notified the Will County judge that, “They ripped an exterior light off the outside of my house. They threw a lamp and threw my TV at a wall. They also punched a hole in my wall,” court documents reflect.

According to the victim, his left ear and the back of his head are swollen “and I had to go to the emergency room … from the beating.”

The victim stated he called Joliet Police on the night of the attack and “the guy who beat me was arrested for battery. She was not arrested. I do not know why they were so angry. I and Ashlee broke up in the early spring but we still hang out with the same crowd.”

On Monday afternoon, Joliet Township High School District 204 Spokeswoman Kristine Schlismann informed Joliet Patch that school officials were made aware of Catalani’s arrest. “It appears the charges are unrelated to Ms. Catalani’s employment in District 204 and we have no reason to believe that Ms. Catalani poses a risk to student safety,” Schlismann wrote Joliet.

“However, if proven true, the allegations represent a violation of the conduct standards we hold for all our employees. As additional information becomes available, we will determine what steps are appropriate to address this situation,”Schlismann added.

Will County court records indicate Catalani is being represented by attorney Dana Jakusz of The Law Offices of Edward Jaquays in downtown Joliet.

Vargas has retained Joliet criminal defense lawyer Sara Gray as his private counsel.

Patch will update this article if more information becomes available.

Ponciano Vargas, Dec. 1 mugshot via Will County Jail



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