Former student says Chicago Public Schools did not protect her from sexual abuse

Former Chicago Public Schools student sues over alleged sex abuse by dean

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A former Chicago Public Schools student is bravely sharing her story in hopes of helping others – saying she was sexually abused for years by the dean of her high school.

The dean, Brian Crowder, is now facing criminal sexual assault charges. The former student said the school district did not protect her.

The young woman said she lived in silence for years – fearing what the dean of her school may do. She said when she did tell a teacher, nothing was done.

"It took a lot from me," said the woman, whom we'll call Jane Doe – as she's identified in a new complaint. "I don't know, I just felt like I couldn't have a normal life."

Doe said she was sexually abused from 2013 until 2106 by Crowder, the dean of the Greater Lawndale School for Social Justice.

Doe: "I didn't really get to experience high school how I wanted to."

De Mar: "In some ways, do you feel that your youth, your high school years, were stripped away from you?"

Doe: "Yes, I didn't do a lot of the stuff that I wanted to do because of it."

Crowder was charged with criminal sexual assault in 2022. Now, a new civil lawsuit accuses among others, the Chicago Board of Education, of failing Doe as one of its former students.

"The system here failed her twice," said Doe's attorney, Martin Gould. "It failed her because the dean was preying on her and sexually abused her, but it also failed her because she did go to a teacher – who didn't report it."

Gould and Mike Grieco are Doe's attorneys. They said after two abortions, Doe told a teacher about the sexual abuse – but it was allegedly never reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

"I became pregnant again a second time, and that's when I went to the teacher. It was just too much for me," said Doe. "She should have spoke up and said something about it."

"Had the teacher done what she was required to do by the law, perhaps some of the pain Jane Doe went through could have ended much earlier," said Gould.

Now, Doe is sharing her trauma, she said, in the hopes of teaching a teenager who may find themselves in a similar situation.

"I don't want them to ever feel how I felt," she said. "You can go to someone. You can speak to someone – and you should."

CPS issued this statement: "Chicago Public Schools (CPS), prioritizes the safety and well-being of our students. We take seriously our responsibility to ensure all employees act in the best interest of our students. The District does not comment on pending investigations or litigation. Our CPS team follows District policies and procedures as we respond to issues."

Crowder resigned from his position, and cannot be rehired within CPS while an investigation is ongoing.

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