CHICAGO (CBS) — A panel of state lawmakers heard emotional testimonies from two victims in the Chicago Public Schools sex abuse scandal Wednesday.
CBS 2’s Political Reporter Derrick Blakley reports legislators were clearly dissatisfied with CPS explanations for past failures and their plans to eliminate them in the future.
“Not a day goes by when what was done to me does not interfere with my life or limit my life in some way,” said Tamara Reed, who says she was sexually abused as an eighth grader by a CPS substitute teacher in 2014.
Morgan Aranda says she was sexually assaulted twice in 2010 by a Payton College Prep Teacher.
“I was shuttered and in the dark. I felt like I was the one under investigation,” Aranda said.
The sex abuse victims courageously brought their pain before a panel of state legislators, accusing CPS of failing to believe their allegations and delays in calling police.
“I was deeply failed by a school and teachers I trusted and admired,” said Aranda. “At 14, I believed these intelligent adults would put my interests first and they didn’t.”
CPS officials replied with a laundry list of promised changes, including new background checks on all employees, an investigation of past practices by former Federal Prosecutor Maggie Hickey, and a probe of how past cases were handled by CPS Inspector General Nick Schuler.
Doug Henning of the CPS legal staff stated, “Going forward, if people fail to live up to their obligations to report violations, we will take action against them.”
Lawmakers blasted the system for not already doing that, as required by law.
“I am outraged by the fact we don’t have policies in place, but that your people, going back 30 years, did nothing,” stated Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock).
Other lawmakers railed about the glaring absence of CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson.
“Every single one of you, including Ms. Jackson who couldn’t bother being here today, should be fired tomorrow,” stated Representative Kathleen Willis (D-Northlake). “Let’s get some new people out there who will give this serious consideration and let’s get this cleaned up.”
State legislators proposed a number of new laws to help prevent future abuse, but the point several lawmakers made is: What is the point in making new laws if CPS hasn’t carried out the several laws that are already on the books?