A report last week revealed a staggering number of alleged teacher-on-student sexual assaults at Chicago Public Schools.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) closed cases on over 600 reports of “adult on student” misconduct in 2022, the report says, a figure which is over 300 more than were closed in 2021. The report also says more than half of the allegations were substantiated and 16 criminal cases were opened as a result.
In a presentation to the Board of Education, the OIG detailed the types of reports they received.
Among the 600 reports were 81 sexual touching cases, 35 grooming cases, 33 sexual abuse cases, 26 cases involving sexual acts, 25 “in-person sexual comments” cases and 14 “sexual electronic communications” cases, as reported by Chicago City Wire. There were also eight reports regarding past sexual conduct and 243 cases categorized as “concerning: other,” which, “may involve leering, ‘creepy’ behavior or other potentially concerning behavior.”
One of the worst cases reported was one in which a male teacher allegedly “groomed and sexually assaulted” a 17- year-old female student on three separate occasions.
In a complaint, the student said “she began to think of him as her friend and therapist.” She claims eventually he “touched and groped [her] while hugging her, touching her thighs and buttocks under the pretext of removing lint from her clothing.”
“I like the way you look in your jeans,” she recalls the teacher saying to her.
The student’s claims were “in part corroborated by text messages on the CPS- sanctioned Remind app, Snapchat records, and a student witness who overheard a conversation between the teacher and student,” in addition to the teacher’s statements, the report says.
The teacher was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault, but a jury acquitted him in November.
In another case, a male Junior ROTC staff member was accused of having sex with a female high school student “over the course of a year when she was 16 to 17 years old.” He was also accused of supplying her with alcohol and asking her to buy marijuana for him.
The OIG investigation reportedly revealed “hundreds of text messages and calls” between the staff member and student, some of which were “overtly sexual.”
“I’m ready to f–k right now … I’m not gonna be gentle either,” the staff member reportedly texted the student.
He even allegedly “threatened to kill the student and her family” if they told on him.
The problem has been so extensive that a Sexual Allegations Unit (SAU) was formed in October 2018 which has grown to a “team of more than 30 uniquely qualified staff responsible for handling hundreds of sexual misconduct allegations per year,” the OIG report reveals.
“In 2022, the SAU closed more than 600 cases – over 300 more than it closed in 2021 – marking a period of significant progress for the unit,” the report boasts. “The SAU has implemented strategic changes to manage its extraordinarily high case volume without compromising the quality of its investigations. The unit remains dedicated first and foremost to prioritizing student safety, while conducting fair and thorough investigations that respect the rights of victims and subjects alike.”
Despite the high volume of reports the SAU is investigating, the OIG feels the unit is making a difference.
Alarmingly, the OIG does not believe CPS is an outlier when compared to other districts nationwide.
“While the volume of allegations and the number of substantiated cases of sexual misconduct understandably causes concern within the District and impacted school communities, there is no indication that the frequency of these occurrences is higher within CPS than in other districts nationwide,” the report states.
Reports of sexual misconduct in public schools over the past year indeed confirm the horrific problem is widespread.