CHICAGO (CBS) — A lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court follows two others last month that accuse a former Evanston High School drama teacher of sexual abusing students.
The latest lawsuit was filed by Daniel Romain, who accuses Bruce Siewerth of abusing him while he was a student at the high school between 1981 and 1985.
According to the suit, Romain auditioned and was cast in a production of “Hamlet” during his freshman year. The part required him to spend significant time in the theater department with Siewerth and required him to wear tights during the performance.
While wearing tights, Siewerth pointed a finger at Romain’s crotch and said “you’re pointing the wrong way,” the suit says. Siewerth “barreled” towards Romain, put his hand down Romain’s tights to touch his penis and “re-arranged” him.
The suit accuses Siewerth of sexual battery and seeks at least $50,000 in damages against the former teacher.
Siewerth could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
The suit also accuses Evanston High School District 202 with willful and wonton misconduct and negligence. It seeks at least $100,000 in damages from the district, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.
Romain’s suit follows two others filed last month that similarly accuse Siewerth of molesting students and the school district of failing to restrict Siewerth’s access to the students and investigate complaints about him.
Brought by two men under the names John Doe 1 and John Doe 2, they allege Siewerth groped and/or fondled them while they were students, including touching them inappropriately while Siewerth wrestled with them, helped them tuck in their shirts or during rides in his car. The students also said that Siewerth took them to a pornography theater while they were on a school trip to New York City.
The men gradated in 1979 and 1980.
All three suits claim Siewerth kept the students quiet about the abuse by using his position to manipulate them into compliance, in part by his authority to cast them for school productions.
Eric Witherspoon, superintendent of School District 202, previously addressed the allegations after they first arose on social media in a letter to the community.
“The District has initiated its own internal review on this matter and is cooperating fully with the Evanston Police Department in their investigation of these allegations,” Witherspoon wrote.
Witherspoon also encouraged anyone with information to reach out to police.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2017. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)