CPS coach charged with sex assault of girl, 14

Idris Bridgeforth

June 7, 2012 2:55:32 PM PDT
A coach at a public school on Chicago's Southwest Side is charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

Idris Bridgeforth, 39, was arrested on Wednesday at Ashburn Elementary School, 8300 S. St. Louis. He allegedly sent sexually explicit text messages to the student.

Bridgeforth is also accused of fondling the student.

Ashburn Elementary students left school Thursday with a letter in hand about criminal charges involving a faculty member. Technology coordinator and coach Bridgesforth was arrested Wednesday for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old female student.

"Everybody gets along with him," said parent Antroinette Savage. "He was a perfect gentleman...So I'm devastated."

Prosecutors say the alleged abuse goes back to December and continued until this week. Thirty-nine-year-old Bridgeforth has known his alleged victim since she was 7 years old.

"The defendant was the victim's basketball and track coach," said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Wendy Caceres. "The victim viewed the defendant as a father figure and a mentor."

Prosecutors say Bridgeforth violated that trust when he fondled the 8th grade student while driving her to and from sporting events.

Prosecutors say the alleged abuse continued with text messages.

"The defendant stated that he wanted her more intimately, and he would protect themselves by wearing a condom," said Caceres.

Bridgeforth was caught after the victim's mother discovered the text messages on her daughter's phone. The mother immediately reported the texts to the school and a police investigation began.

In court, Bridgeforth was given a $250,000 bond. He was also told to stay away from children under the age of 18. He is not allowed to use computers, the Internet or cellphones.

If convicted, Bridgeforth could face up to 15 years in prison.


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