Former West Side charter school coach charged with sexually assaulting 2 students

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A former basketball coach at a charter school on the West Side is charged with sexually assaulting two students, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office said 32-year-old Jamel Helaire-Jones carried on sexual relationships with two students while coached at Legal Prep Charter Academy in the city's West Garfield Park neighborhood.

Prosecutors said the students were girls between the ages of 14 and 17 at the time of the alleged sexual assaults, which prosecutors said occurred on school property and in Helaire-Jones' car last year.

Chicago police said Helaire-Jones is charged with two felony counts of criminal sexual assault in which the victims were between the ages of 13 and 17.

Legal Prep released a statement, saying:

Legal Prep's top priority is to ensure students have a safe and welcoming learning environment. Legal Prep took immediate action to notify the appropriate authorities and remove the employee from their position upon learning of the abuse allegations. The employee was terminated on November 30, 2018. Legal Prep appreciates Chicago Public Schools' support and law enforcement's response and is fully cooperating with their investigations. Legal Prep is working closely with the affected students and families to ensure they receive the support they need.

Prosecutors said in court that Helaire-Jones was convicted of a robbery charge in Michigan in 2005 and was charged with sexual assault in 2006. It was not clear how that sexual assault case resolved.

Helaire-Jones was ordered held without bail at a court appearance Wednesday. His next court date is January 28.
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