Suburban Elementary School Principal Accused of Sexually Assaulting Child: School Officials

UPDATE: Berrios' attorney said as of April 11 charges against the school principal have been dropped. Read more here

A principal at a suburban Chicago elementary school has been arrested and charged with sexual assault of a child, school officials confirmed.

In an email to parents Friday, the school said Principal Sam Berrios at Lincoln Elementary School in Blue Island was arrested following an allegation from a former student about an incident believed to have taken place during enrollment in a district school. Berrios was taken into custody Tuesday and charged Wednesday, the school said.

"I received an email stating that he had been arrested," said Claudia Mendoza, whose daughter is in the first grade. "What kind of was shocking to me was that no one told us anything for this whole time."

Officials were first made aware of the allegation against Berrios in January and the principal was immediately placed on administrative leave. The allegation was reported to police and the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services.

Berrios had been principal for seven years, and had submitted his resignation in December of 2015, effective at the end of the current school year. Details on the alleged assault were not immediately known, but the community is reeling from the news. 

"I thought Blue Island schools are good, now it's like I'm in shock," said parent Violeta Munoz. "To be able to leave my daughter in school, is it going to be safe or not?"

“Because this matter is the subject of an ongoing law enforcement investigation, I am unable to comment beyond the communication issued by the District to parents and staff,” District 130 Supt. Tina Halliman said in a statement. “I want to assure you that the number one priority of our District is the welfare, safety and education of our students. At this time, we have no information suggesting any cause of concern for current students in the District. The District has and will continue to fully cooperate with all authorities in their investigations.”

According to the school’s website, two interim principals have been named in the wake of the allegation.

Blue Island Police are investigating but have not released any details about the case. 

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