Chicago/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on May 20, 2024
Illinois Educators Accused of Sexual Misconduct, Lawsuits Allege Decades of Abuse in Cicero and Steger High SchoolsSource: Teemu08, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A disturbing pattern of alleged sexual misconduct by former high school teachers and coaches has emerged in Illinois, with lawsuits filed against two educators detailing years of reported abuse. According to the Chicago Tribune, three women claim they were groomed and sexually abused by former teacher Dallas Till at Morton East High School in Cicero and Elmwood Park High School. Another case has surfaced at Bloom Trail High School in Steger, with a "Jane Doe" accusing a longtime teacher and coach, of similar misconduct.

In Till's case, Andrea Crawford was the first to report his behavior back in 2002. Crawford, now a nurse, came forward after learning that Till, despite her complaint, obtained a teaching license and continued working in schools. Speaking to the Tribune, she said she felt "sick all night" upon discovering he was still teaching. One of Till's former students alleges she was forced to get an abortion, as detailed in a lawsuit, while another claims the abuse began when she was 16. Both said Till's behavior was known among staff and students, yet it went uninvestigated. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has stated they received no complaints about Till's conduct.

Meanwhile, the unnamed teacher at Bloom Trail High School's alleged abuse reportedly started during his accuser's sophomore year and escalated over time. The victim told ABC7 that the teacher had been her first sexual experience, and convinced her that she was a willing participant. "It was very clear to me that if I spoke up, his life would be over," she said.

The Bloom Trail High School principal, while unable to comment on the specific case, emphasized student safety as a top priority, stating in a letter to parents that the teacher in question had been placed on administrative leave for the duration of the investigation. The victim's attorney, Matt Passen, mentioned that others have come forward with similar stories involving the same teacher. The lawsuit aims to hold accountable those who allegedly allowed the abuse to continue. Till was terminated from his latest position at Riverside-Brookfield High School in January 2023 after an investigation into his past behavior, though he remains licensed to teach in Illinois through June 2026 despite the mounting allegations.