CHICAGO (CBS) — The sex abuse scandal at Chicago Public Schools erupted last summer, revealing a least a decade of under-reporting or limited action by the district in cases of rape and sexual misconduct against students.
That news led to a scathing report by outside investigator Maggie Hickey. She and her team sifted through thousands of documents, interviewing more than 80 CPS employees.
The report concluded:
- Tracking of incidents had been “deeply flawed”
- Victims were sometimes “asked the wrong questions” by “untrained employees;” and
- The district struggled with “background check inconsistencies.”
At the time of the report, CPS Chief Executive Office Janice Jackson told CBS 2’s Lauren Victory, “There was a lot there to unpack, but what I’m doing is looking at it as a roadmap so that we can do more.”
And now today, a former CPS security guard, James Wilson Jr., was charged with sexually abusing girls, who were as young as 7 years old. Some of those charges stem from alleged abuse that happened more than a decade ago, before Wilson left CPS in 2009.
Victory asked Jackson on Thursday what the district has been doing to address the issue.
“As I stated earlier, we made a lot of efforts including the establishment of the Office of Student Protections as well as hiring a Title 9 officer.
“As I’ve said over and over again, I won’t be satisfied until we are a district free of sexual abuse. We have work to do there.”
CPS has implemented screenings for all employees and is apparently ready for what Jackson calls “phase two.”
At a City Club luncheon, Jackson told the crowd the upcoming school year will focus on awareness.
“We’re working with groups who are coming in, for example, who are doing plays and other things to help make students aware of consent and boundaries but more importantly, how to report that. It folds into our campaign of protecting Chicago’s children.”
Jackson promised a progress report on the district’s handling of sexual allegations “soon.”