Zion principal accused of having sex with student while working in Kenosha

ZION, Ill. (WLS) -- A former grade school principal in north suburban Zion has been charged with sexually assaulting a teenage student a decade ago while he was a high school dean in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Curtiss Tolefree, Jr., who was principal at Beulah Park Elementary School in Zion, allegedly had sex with a student almost daily during her junior and senior years at the school, his home and a hotel, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday by the Kenosha County district attorney's office.

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Tolefree is charged with three counts of sex assault of a student by school staff and two counts of exposing himself, according to the complaint. He is due in Kenosha County court on Jan. 2, or an arrest warrant will be filed, according to the state's attorney's office.

On Monday, Tolefree was placed on administrative leave by Zion School District 6, district superintendent Keely Roberts wrote in a letter posted online.

Many in the Zion education community in Zion don't know what make of the charges. Parents received a written statement posted by the superintendent of Zion Elementary School District 6.

"As a grandparent and a parent of a student, students that went to this school, my concern is for the safety for the children as always," said Glynise Brown, grandparent of a student in Zion.

The charges stem from claims a woman made to Kenosha police in the fall of 2018, alleging that in 2008 when she was a 17-year-old junior at Bradford High School, and Tolefree was Dean of Students there, the two had a relationship which continued into the following year. The age of consent in Wisconsin is 17.

The woman, referred to as Jane Doe, said she was often in trouble as a student and was sent repeatedly to Tolefree's office when he was dean.

The victim said they had sex in his office "just about every day at school during her junior year," usually in Tolefree's office which had a 'window covered with construction paper." She added they also had encounters at his house, hotels and in his car.

The victim said the relationship ended in 2009 when Tolefree took a new job at Washington Middle School in Kenosha as principal. He quit that job in July after he came under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct with staffers there. He resigned as principal over allegations he had sex with subordinates.

Parents want to know how the 42-year-old managed to get hired that same month when he was already under investigation in Wisconsin.

"Why is he here? If it's true, how did he get the job? They don't do no background checks?" wondered Clyde Scott, parent of Zion student.

Zion school officials said there's no indication that the alleged criminal conduct involves District 6 students, adding that the district conducts fingerprint-based background checks, and checks both national and state sexual and violent offender registries as part of their hiring process.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
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