CPS facing sex assault lawsuit from former student, who claims Lawndale High dean raped, groomed her

The former dean of Little Village Lawndale High was charged with felony criminal sexual assault in 2022.

Thursday, April 11, 2024
Former CPS student who claims abuse wants other victims to come forward
A former CPS student who claims a dean raped her for years wants any other victims to come forward.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A former student filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against Chicago Public Schools, claiming the district failed to protect her from a former dean of students.

She spoke at a news conference on Thursday with her attorneys, saying she is speaking out so other alleged victims feel the freedom to come forward.

ABC7 Chicago is not naming the woman, since she is a victim of alleged sexual assault.

The lawsuit claims that CPS negligently hired, supervised and retained a former dean of students after the accusations.

Brian Crowder, the former dean at Little Village Lawndale High School, was charged with felony criminal sexual assault in 2022.

He was removed from his position by CPS in 2021.

The victim, who was 15 at the time of the alleged abuse, said CPS failed to protect her, even after they learned of the alleged assault.

The now 25-year-old claimed Crowder sexually abused her from 2013 to 2016.

The lawsuit also alleges that Crowder subjected the victim to two pregnancies, coerced her to have two abortions and posed as her parent to sign off on the procedures while she was still a student.

The student said she reported the abuse to a teacher at the time, who is required by law to report it, but the teacher did nothing.

"It definitely changed the way I thought I would go through high school," she said. "I just want to help any young girl out there who's maybe going through this to know that it's not OK, and it is OK for them to come forward and speak up."

CPS released the following statement:

"Chicago Public Schools (CPS), prioritizes the safety and well-being of our students. We take seriously our responsibility to ensure all employees act in the best interest of our students. The District does not comment on pending investigations or litigation. Our CPS team follows District policies and procedures as we respond to issues."

Martin Gould, an attorney with Stinar Gould Grieco & Hensley, criticized CPS.

"She was abused by a dean who was in charge of disciplining students and keeping students safe at that school. But she was also failed by a teacher who knew the abuse and failed to report it," Gould said. "Every teacher must be trained on recognizing the signs of grooming, the signs of abuse. Every teacher must understand the consequences if they do not report abuse."

The woman, who was identified in the lawsuit only as Jane Doe, agreed.

"Even though I did ask her not to say anything, I think she should have. It was her job to do so," Doe said. "He should have known better. He was the adult, not me. And he should have never started it."

Attorneys for the alleged victim say there are more potential victims of abuse at Little Village Lawndale High School, and they want to encourage them to come forward.

Crowder's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Crowder did not answer a knock at his door Thursday.