NORTHFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Eight months after a warrant was issued accusing him of placing cameras in restrooms at a north suburban school, David Garcia-Espinal remains on the loose.
Source said Garcia-Espinal could even be out of the country. Meanwhile, another lawsuit was filed in August by a teacher at Sunset Ridge School in Northfield.
The latest lawsuit was filed by a teacher at the school. The teacher – identified only as Jane Roe – claimed she been recorded on video using a school bathroom.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, the latest lawsuit said the teacher had suffered “embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, mental and emotional harm,” and other trauma from which she will suffer for a lifetime. The suit said more should have been done to protect students and teachers.
Garcia-Espinal had been at Sunset Ridge since 2015, holding two jobs at the school since 2016 through two different companies. He was a cook through OrganicLife, and a custodian through Smith Maintenance Company in the evenings. Both companies were also named in the latest lawsuit.
School officials initially said Garcia-Espinal placed a cellphone camera in a staff bathroom that was also on occasion used by students. But video evidence later showed recordings were made in at least one girls’ bathroom in September of last year as well.
Students were recorded on video in both the bathrooms.
“I was shown photos of my daughter sitting on the toilet,” one father said.
The background checks conducted on Garcia-Espinal by Smith Maintenance and OrganicLife came back clean, even though Garcia-Espinal did have a felony record. The latest complaint said the contractors should have known about Garcia-Espinal’s criminal history.
Garcia-Espinal has a criminal background and a long pattern of inappropriate behavior, and accused the two contractors of failing to conduct adequate background checks before hiring him.
CBS 2 later learned that Garcia-Espinal was caught taking pictures of women while they urinated in a movie theater restroom in 2010. He was caught a second time three months later and was banned from the Northbrook Court mall, but was never charged with a crime in that case.
Court records showed Garcia-Espinal pleaded guilty to identity fraud in Glenview in 2012 and was sentenced to probation, and was also fined for violating his probation in 2013. When he was arrested for the movie theater incident, the officer found three different Social Security cards, three different permanent resident cards and two different resident alien cards.
Glenview Police told CBS 2 last winter that their records show they charged Garcia-Espinal with a misdemeanor for public indecency. However, that charge was never recommended for prosecution. Prosecutors pursued only the fraud charge to which Garcia-Espinal pleaded guilty.
But since he was never charged in connection with the women’s restroom incidents, his lewd acts never showed up on a background check. That was one more reason why he slipped through the cracks and got hired at a middle school where he is now accused in the bathroom camera incidents.
Discipline of an unknown variety was later handed down to the administrators that let Garcia-Espinal slip through the cracks.
The school is not directly named as a defendant in the latest lawsuit or others filed earlier, but it could be in the future. In the meantime, a nationwide search for Garcia-Espinal continued Tuesday night.