Lawmakers hold hearing about CPS sex abuse allegations

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Illinois lawmakers held a hearing Wednesday about sexual abuse allegations against Chicago Public Schools employees that had been mishandled over the last 10 years. (WLS)

Illinois lawmakers held a hearing Wednesday about sexual abuse allegations against Chicago Public Schools employees that had been mishandled over the last 10 years.

Two victims and their families gave tearful testimony about being assaulted and then mistreated by the system.


The hearing of state representatives and senators was held in Chicago following a Chicago Tribune report that chronicled hundreds of allegations over the last 10 years, as well as CPS's ineffective background check system and the district's failure to respond to complaints.

"I'm here for what CPS subjected to me in the months following. I'm here to shed light on the re-traumatizing, intimidating interrogations," said Morgan Aranda, now-22-year-old who was assaulted by her Walter Payton High School world studies teacher during her freshman year.

After reporting the abuse, school officials questioned her without her parents or a lawyer present.

"I was pulled out of class to sit alone in a room with an old man who didn't asked not how I felt or what they could do to help me feel safe in may school again, but what I was wearing when I was assaulted," Aranda said.

Tamara Reed, who also testified, said she was treated the same way by school officials when she reported being sexually assaulted by a substitute teacher at Robert Black Elementary School. She was asked what she was wearing and whether she came on to him.

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"I'm not the person I was before the assault and I'll never be the same as a result of what has been done to me," Reed said.

Following the victims powerful testimony, lawmakers lashed out at CPS officials accusing the school district of covering up years of sex abuse of students by school employees.

"You shoved it under the rug and told these young ladies it was their fault," said state Rep. Steven Reick, R-Woodstock.

"CPS policy and Illinois Law makes all CPS employees mandated reporters and those protocols, those processes clearly were not followed," said Matt Lyons CPS-Chief Talent Officer

Lawmakers were also outraged that CPS CEO Janice Jackson, who was invited to the Wednesday hearing, did not attend. One legislator went as far to say she should be fired over the sex abuse scandal.

Since the scandal broke, CPS has announced several changes, including more training and allowing the CPS inspector general to investigate past and present cases.

"I'm angry and outraged by what has happened to our students in the Chicago Public Schools system. I think we need to take a close look at where our system broke down for these kids. We cannot have sexual predators in our schools," said state Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Chicago.

A group of aldermen plan to also hold hearings on the issue.
Related Topics:
chicago public schoolseducationsex abusesex abuse against childrenstudentsstudent safetyChicagoLoop
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