Chicago Public Schools criticized following report on student sexual abuse

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Widening criticism of CPS's response has now entered the political arena with those looking to unseat the mayor accusing him of failing to lead. (WLS)

The CEO of Chicago Public Schools is tapping a former federal prosecutor to lead the investigation into allegations employees sexually abused students.

Widening criticism of CPS's response has now entered the political arena with those looking to unseat the mayor accusing him of failing to lead.

"I take responsibility, and I've also apologized, and I will apologize, like I expect every adult who has any role or responsibility," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday.

Last week the Chicago Tribune revealed hundreds of CPS students have been sexually abused by CPS employees over the past decade. The report revealed ineffective background checks and a failure to respond to complaints. In some cases, students who came forward were re-victimized by repeated interrogations.

"I know that the details are ugly, and it's going to take a long time to restore public trust, but I'm committed to taking this head on," said CPS CEO Janice Jackson.

"I take responsibility, like Janice does takes responsibility, to do this. My point is for how to tighten something up, offer that," Emanuel said.

Tuesday CPS said former Assistant U.S. Attorney Maggie Hickey will conduct a top-down review and offer recommendations in August, before the start of the school year.

"Our kids and their parents should not have to wait until the start of the next school year for the protections they need today," said Lori Lightfoot, candidate for mayor.

Those who seek to unseat the mayor accused his administration of trying for months to stonewall the Tribune, instead of acting immediately to keep students safe.

"Given the nature of these offenses and the number of them, there had to have been some internal intelligence going on that you had a serious problem here and that you needed to take serious action," said Paul Vallas, candidate for mayor.

"Almost every single case highlighted in here has been covered publicly, so it wasn't a cover up," Jackson said.

CPS said it's already taken some actions, including announcing additional training for administrators and staff. It's also been in contact with the Cook County State's Attorney's office and is working on a public awareness campaign to encourage victims to come forward.
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educationchicago public schoolssex abuse against childrenteachersstudentsrahm emanuelChicagoLoop
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