The day two lawsuits were filed accusing a former Evanston high school teacher of sexual abuse decades ago, one of the first former students to raise the allegations spoke with NBC 5.
Jeffrey Lieber, a Hollywood screenwriter and former Evanston Township High School student, said Wednesday he knew there were more victims but never expected so many would come forward.
It was normalized almost immediately as the price of entry," he said.
Lieber described an acceptance of sexual abuse in the prestigious school's theater department. He graduated in 1987 and hid his secret for decades, he said, until sexual assault allegations surfaced against Harvey Weinstein.
"I saw people come out and blame victims saying how possible that powerful women silenced for so long and I became unnerved because I knew exactly how it happened," he said.
Lieber first shared his story on social media and met with Evanston police this past weekend.
"They were kind and empathetic and passionate about what they know," he said.
Since the initial allegations at least 10 more potential victims have come forward.
Two filed civil lawsuits Wednesday.
According to one suit—the abuse began as “grabbing and tickling" then escalated when the teacher allegedly “reached down his pants, and grabbed and molested John Doe 1’s genitals.”
The suit also details a school trip to New York City where students were taken to a “gay pornography theater.”
The suit alleges that the school district knew about the abuse—calling it a quote an “open secret.”
Evanston Township School District did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, but previously apologized for the pain the allegations may be causing members of the community.
The former drama teacher did not respond to NBC 5’s request for comment.