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Chicago, IL – A former high school student has filed a lawsuit against Chicago Public Schools (CPS), alleging that the school district failed to protect her from repeated sexual abuse by Brian Crowder. Crowder was the former Dean of Students at the Greater Lawndale High School for Social Justice, which is located within Little Village Lawndale High School (LVLHS), at 3120 S Kostner Ave, Chicago, IL 60623.

Former IL High School Student Accuses Dean of Grooming and Sexual Abuse

According to the lawsuit, Crowder is accused of repeatedly sexually abusing the 15-year-old girl, leading to two pregnancies and corresponding abortions. To circumvent Illinois state law and obtain the abortions, Crowder allegedly posed as the student’s stepfather and signed consent forms under a false name.

Years of Alleged Child Sexual Abuse and Two Abortions

According to the lawsuit, the abuse began with Crowder sending the victim videos of himself, including one where he explicitly expressed his desires. During the summer of 2013, he started bringing her to his home, where he provided her with alcohol and proceeded to sexually assault her. Prosecutors allege that Crowder and the victim engaged in sexual intercourse five to six times per month from that summer until the summer of 2015.

Disturbingly, in 2014 and 2015, Crowder allegedly posed as the victim’s stepfather to sign consent forms and pay for her to undergo abortions. The abuse finally came to an end in 2015, but Crowder resurfaced in the victim’s life in 2019, attempting to contact her at her workplace. The victim confided in a friend about the abuse and filed a report with the Chicago Police Department in September 2021. In response, Crowder allegedly sent her a text message saying, “Goodbye forever.”

The victim’s lawsuit reveals that she lived in constant fear of Crowder after her first abortion, but felt trapped in silence due to his authority over students and teachers at the school. These distressing details shed light on the immense suffering endured by the victim and raise serious concerns about the school’s failure to address the situation and ensure the safety of its students.

School’s Failure to Act Despite Reported Abuse

The lawsuit further claims that the student reported the abuse to a teacher, who was legally required to report the sexual abuse committed by a CPS employee, but the teacher did nothing. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that other school employees were aware of the inappropriate relationship between the student and Crowder, making jokes about their “romantic involvement” while the student suffered years of sexual abuse.

CPS Response and Ongoing Investigation

In response to the lawsuit, CPS stated that they prioritize the safety and well-being of their students and take their responsibility to ensure all employees act in the students’ best interest seriously. The district did not comment on the pending investigation or litigation, but stated that they follow district policies and procedures in responding to such issues.

According to CPS policy, if the district has cause to believe there is a threat to student and/or staff safety, or if there is a substantial disruption to the educational process, they will remove an employee during the course of an investigation. In this case, Crowder was removed from his position at LVLHS in September 2021, and an investigation was launched by the Illinois Office of the Inspector General (OIG) into the allegations against him. Crowder subsequently resigned from his position and is currently ineligible for rehire with CPS while the OIG’s investigation is ongoing.

Chicago Public School’s Ongoing Efforts to Improve Student Safety

In 2018, CPS established its Office of Student Protections and Title IX (OSP) to create clear pathways for students to report incidents of sexual misconduct, enhance policies and procedures for responding to reports of sexual harm, and bolster efforts in coordinating support for all parties involved in a sexual misconduct incident.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of the Chicago Tribune’s 2018 “Betrayed” Investigative Series, which found that 72 CPS employees were alleged to have sexually abused students, including teachers, counselors, coaches, and security guards.

As the investigation and legal proceedings unfold, the CPS community and the public at large await further developments in this disturbing case, with the hope that justice will be served and measures will be taken to ensure the safety and well-being of all students under the district’s care.

Conversation with Illinois Sex Abuse Lawyer on Holding Schools Accountable

Following the distressing news of the allegations against the high school dean and district, we sat down with Brian Kent, an experienced Illinois school sex abuse lawyer, to discuss the legal rights available for those sexually abused by a high school dean and how to hold negligent schools accountable.

Laurence Banville, Esq. (LB): Brian, as an attorney who has handled cases of sexual abuse in schools in Illinois, what are the key legal options available to victims of school sexual abuse?

Brian Kent, Esq. (BK): There are a few important avenues a victim can pursue. First and foremost, they may have the right to file a civil lawsuit against the school district if they failed to protect them. Schools have a duty to ensure the safety of their students, and when they breach that duty by allowing abuse to occur, they can be held liable.

LB: Can you expand on the school district’s liability in a case like this? What are the grounds for negligence?

BK: Absolutely. If the school was aware of the inappropriate relationship between the student and the school employee, they could be considered negligent. By failing to act on warning signs and reports of abuse, the school may have breached its duty to protect the student.

LB: What steps can schools take to prevent such incidents from happening in the first place?

BK: Schools play a critical role in ensuring the safety of their students. Implementing comprehensive policies and protocols for reporting and addressing allegations of abuse is a crucial step. Schools should provide regular training to their staff on recognizing signs of abuse and responding appropriately. Creating an environment where students feel comfortable reporting misconduct is essential.

LB: Thank you, Brian, for providing this valuable information.

BK: You’re welcome. Cases like this are heartbreaking, but it’s important that victims know their rights and that negligent institutions are held responsible for failing to protect the students in their care.

Seeking Justice and Support for Students Sexually Abused at School

For victims of sexual abuse by school employees and the families impacted by such horrific acts, it is crucial to know that you have rights and options for seeking justice. If you or a loved one have experienced sexual abuse within the school system, we encourage you to reach out for a free, confidential consultation. Our team of experienced sexual assault lawyers is dedicated to fighting for your rights, securing the compensation and support you deserve, and enacting change to prevent future tragedies. Contact us today to take the first step to healing and justice.


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