Chicago Public Schools

12 Staff Members at CPS School Accused in Sexual Misconduct Probe Involving Cover-Up

As of Friday, it remained unclear if anyone will face criminal charges.

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Chicago Public Schools announced Friday 12 staff members and a volunteer at a Northwest Side high school have been implicated in a wide-ranging sexual misconduct probe that involved a cover-up and occurred over the course of multiple years.

Ten employees at Marine Leadership Academy in Logan Square have either been fired are going through the termination process, CPS CEO Pedro Martinez revealed at a news conference.

Following a two-year probe, the CPS Office of the Inspector General substantiated findings against 12 total employees, including one who had a sexual relationship with a student and another who groomed a student and began a sexual relationship after they graduated.

Six of the people accused in the probe failed to report and "actively hid suspected violations," the district stated.

"Unfortunately some of these relationships appeared to have been tolerated or even covered up by other adults who had vowed to protect children in their care," Martinez said.

CPS sent a letter to Marine Leadership Academy parents outlining multiple steps that have been taken following the investigation, including setting up an anonymous hotline for others to come forward and holding sessions for parents to discuss instances of sexual misconduct at the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center.

"We know that it will take a lot of work to restore the trust that has been broken within the MLA community, but CPS is committed to doing everything possible to create a safe and positive learning environment where students can grow, learn and thrive," the letter read.

One mother told NBC 5 she wasn't surprised about the announcement, explaining complaints have been surfacing for some time and that parents were told the allegations weren't true.

Erin Galfer, the former principal at Marine Leadership Academy, was promoted to a position at the CPS Central Office in June, but was recently fired for her involvement.

As of Friday, it remained unclear if anyone will face criminal charges.

Martinez explained that loopholes exist in current state laws.

"Why am I still paying these individuals, why haven't these individuals been arrested?" he questioned. "Why haven't individuals even that I started terminating immediately that I could, why couldn't I get them arrested?"

Martinez said he will share information about the staff members with the Illinois State Board of Education and will ask the board to pull the licenses of the teachers involved.

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