A former high school drama teacher who worked for Evanston Township High School has been accused of sexual misconduct by several of his former students. Those accusing the man of wrongdoing state that the incidents occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s at a minimum.
Multiple students have reported that the teacher would physically grope male students by placing his hand down the students’ pants and touching their genitals. The teacher, who spent an extended period of time with the school, ran the drama department and was in charge of many of the drama-related activities including casting of plays. Some former students have stated that they felt incapable of confronting the behavior due to the power possessed by the teacher and the desire of the students to succeed in the program.
Recently, the school has responded by banning the former teacher from the campus and any school-related activities. It also reported the allegations to local police.
But despite these actions, some former students are crying foul on the part of the school and the school district. At least one individual stated that she reported misconduct that she witnessed but did not personally experience in the 1990s. The school allegedly failed to take action, leaving the drama teacher in place and with continued access to minor students.
Some of the former students speaking out at this time have connections to Hollywood and the film industry which has been experiencing numerous allegations of sexual impropriety against several major directors in recent weeks, including Harvey Weinstein.
When Illinois children go to school every day, they should be safe in the presence of their teachers. Unfortunately, some adults use their positions of authority to take advantage of the children they are supposed to be educating, causing irreparable harm and damage. Accordingly to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, children who are sexually assaulted are about four times more likely than those who are not abused to develop symptoms of drug abuse. They are also about four times more likely than non-victims to experience post-traumatic stress disorder as adults and about three times more likely to experience a major depressive episode as adults. Other research indicates that these victims may have trouble with interpersonal relationships for the rest of their lives, particularly when their abuser was in a position of power over the victim. While the physical act of abuse may end, the suffering that stems from the abuse can last for decades.
Victims of sexual assault, abuse, or misconduct may have the right to bring a claim for their damages if the abuse happened in Illinois. Often, multiple individuals or entities may be responsible for financial damages when a student is abused by a teacher. Besides the offending teacher, a school district, superintendent, and others may also bear legal liability to victims of sexual assault in an educational setting.
Speaking with a personal injury attorney can help a victim realize whether he or she has the right to bring a claim for damages done, and if so, what options may exist to help the victim obtain compensation. Many victims chose to remain anonymous during the pendency of their lawsuits to protect their identity and privacy, and lawyers use a pseudonym to file the case such as John Doe.
Note: Since 2010, the lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. have helped collect more than $30 million in settlements on behalf of clients that have suffered from sexual abuse. Currently, the law firm is representing many other sexual abuse victims in ongoing lawsuits and claims.
Former ETHS Teacher Accused of Sexual Abuse, by Jonah Meadows, published October 14, 2017.
Children and Teens: Statistics, RAINN.