Details of Chicago Schools Sexual Abuse
Over a decade, police investigated more than 520 cases of juvenile sexual assault and abuse in Chicago’s public schools. Hundreds of students were harmed, the Tribune found. No area of the city was spared. Top athletes and honor-roll students, children struggling to read and teenagers seeking guidance became prey, among the many students raped or sexually abused during the last decade by trusted adults working in the Chicago Public Schools as district officials repeated obvious child-protection mistakes.
A History of Abuse
When students summoned the courage to disclose abuse, teachers and principals failed to alert child welfare investigators or police despite the state’s mandated reporter law.
Even in cases where school employees acted swiftly, they subjected young victims to repeated interrogations, inflicting more psychological pain and defying basic principles intended to preserve the integrity of an investigation.
Ineffective background checks exposed students to educators with criminal convictions and arrests for sex crimes against children. And CPS failed to disclose to other districts that past employees had resigned after investigators found credible evidence of abuse and harassment.
The exact number of cases in which school workers sexually assaulted students remains elusive, in part because CPS does so little to understand and tackle the problem. The district acknowledges that it does not track child abuse by its employees in a consistent or formal manner.
After the Tribune threatened to file a lawsuit to force public disclosure of basic CPS documents and data related to sexual misconduct, the district acknowledged that its Law Department had investigated 430 reports that school employees had sexually abused, assaulted or harassed students since 2011.
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Public and private entities that negligently hire, supervise or retain employees who they know or reasonably should suspect pose a danger to others are legally responsible for any injuries caused by their employees’ conduct, including sexual assault and abuse. Survivors are entitled to compensation for damages stemming from physical injuries as well as past, current, and future emotional distress.
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