A follow-up to an NBC5 Investigates report about a teacher accused of sexual abuse. Last month we told you about a suburban mom who accused a woman named Cherie Carlson of sexual abuse years ago. Carlson is now a middle school teacher in Buffalo Grove but used to work at a Chicago church and religious camp in Wisconsin. Now another woman tells NBC5 that she witnessed the alleged abuse.
“Were you surprised by the allegations against Cherie Carlson?” Rob Stafford asked.
“Not at all,” Monika Ebly said.
In the summer of 1996, Monika Ebly was 16 years old. She was a member of the North Side Gospel Center in Chicago who worked at the church camp in Wisconsin. She says one night inside this cabin she saw girls camp director Cherie Carlson fondling a girl we are calling Jane Doe.
“Cherie had her hand under the blanket and was fondling Jane’s genitalia,” Monika said.
“You could see that?” Rob asked.
“Yes,” Monika said.
“But it was under the blanket?” asked Rob.
“It was under the blanket, the hand was at the exact location of where that would be. It was very clear that’s what was happening,” Monika said.
Jane Doe is now a suburban mom in her thirties who filed a lawsuit last month accusing Carlson of sexual abuse and the church of not doing anything to stop it. We agreed to conceal her identity.
“She told me she was showing me God’s love,” said Jane Doe.
Monika Ebly says Cherie Carlson came into the cabin as the girls were falling asleep and sat on the corner of Jane Doe’s bunk, right across from hers.
“Was Cherie saying anything?” asked Rob.
“Yes she was still giving devotions which were nightly bible parables or a recap of the bible lesson we had earlier in the day. So she was giving a bible lesson ironically enough.,” said Monika.
“How did you react?” asked Rob.
“I was mortified. I literally at that juncture I had just closed my eyes, I was waiting for it and praying for it to be over and for her to leave the cabin,” said Monika.
“Did you notify anybody in authority of what you saw?” asked Rob.
“The people that were in authority were Cherie’s parents. It didn’t seem like it would be well-received,” added Monika.
She says a year earlier in 1991 another teenage girl accused Cherie Carlson of abuse. She says the girl and her family left the church but Carlson stayed and denied the charges at a church meeting.
“Our pastor at the time said you know Cherie is going through these awful things. These awful tribulations, and the Lord has seen her through it and she’s here to talk about it if you need to but this is something we do not want to keep discussing, this is the end of it. It ends here,” Monika said.
NBC 5 Investigates tried to contact Carlson several times but did not hear back. She is on a paid leave of absence from Cooper Middle School in Buffalo Grove which is investigating the allegations. The North Side Gospel Center released a statement saying “we will fully cooperate with any investigation and are shocked by the allegations.”