Chicago mayoral race: McCarthy, Vallas spar over CPS sex abuse allegations

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago mayoral candidates Garry McCarthy and Paul Vallas have brought decades-old sex abuse allegations in Chicago Public Schools into the spotlight again Thursday.

McCarthy accused Vallas, who was CEO of Chicago Public Schools from 1995-2001, of dropping the ball in the case of serial sex abuse suspect Marvin Lovett. Lovett was accused of victimizing at least 19 students in the 1990s. He was killed by one of his accusers in 2000.

"Even after several CPS parents and employees alerted Mr. Vallas of Lovett's sexual abuse, he did not launch an investigation and he took no action," McCarthy said.

Reports over the past year uncovered 1,100 more cases of sexual abuse in CPS schools. McCarthy pointed to those cases as the fallout of Vallas' oversight.

"These events could have been prevented if Mr. Vallas put some protections in place 19 years ago," he said.

A woman named Ghana Carlos said she sent a letter to Vallas' office in 2000 raising concerns about Lovett, but it was sent after Lovett was killed and was only signed "a concerned community member." Vallas said no one remembers seeing the memo. He also said there were numerous safeguards in place to protect students during his tenure.

"Well I think Garry McCarthy's getting pretty desperate with his sinking campaign," Vallas said.

Vallas blames recent sex abuse cases on cuts made to the Chicago Police Department under McCarthy.

"When he was superintendent of police and when they were gutting the detectives' division, the number of detectives working on child predator crimes, child predator investigations was gutted to nine," Vallas said.

McCarthy did not address those allegations in a follow-up statement, instead asking what that has to do with what he claims happened on Vallas' watch.
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