Watch CBS News

Chicago Public Schools expert witness says in deposition that sexual assault is not always traumatic

Former Chicago Public Schools student says she was sexually abused by teacher for years
Former Chicago Public Schools student says she was sexually abused by teacher for years 05:08

CHICAGO (CBS) – Jane Doe is 38 years old now, but the pain she says she suffered at the hands of a Chicago Public Schools (CPS) high school English teacher more than 20 years ago remains fresh.

"I have nightmares almost every night," she said in her first on-camera interview about her experience. "It's still really hard to talk about it."

Jane was referring to inappropriate contact she said she had with a teacher at Gordon S. Hubbard High School in Chicago's West Lawn Neighborhood.

The lawsuit

Jane claims in a 2019 lawsuit, scheduled to go to trial in mid-May 2024, that the teacher, Walter Glascoff, began communicating with during her junior year at Hubbard.

"We started messaging over email," she said "It felt like he was trying to be friends with us students, friends with me."

It was attention the self-described quiet, shy girl first welcomed. 

"It was nice to feel special," Jane said.

Jane was 16 at the time. Then, she said the communication from Mr. Glascoff suddenly escalated.

"He kept pressuring me to meet up with him again and again and again," she said, "and it became sexual over time."

Jane's civil lawsuit filed against Glascoff and the Board of Education of the City of Chicago, in essence, CPS, claims during the 2003-2004 school year, Glascoff:

  • "insisted on seeing her"
  • "bought Plaintiff JANE DOE alcoholic beverages"
  • "proceeded to hold Plaintiff JANE DOE's hand"
  • "asked Plaintiff JANE DOE to dress in a couple's costume with him for homecoming"
  • "sexually assaulted Plaintiff JANE DOE" in various locations outside school
  • "repeatedly and continuously sexually abused Plaintiff JANE DOE"

"He made me feel like I was a bad person if I didn't care about him," Jane said.

She didn't tell an adult about the abuse until she confided to a therapist in 2018. She was in her 30s at that time.

"She reacted in such a shocked way that it was really helpful to see … helped me shake out of things and just sort of see this was really horrible," Jane said.

The therapist, a mandated reporter, alerted the Department of Children and Family Services.

That same year, CPS investigated Glascoff. District reports show he admitted having sex with Jane, while she was a student. Dismissal charges were prepared, citing "credible evidence does exist" that Glascoff "engaged in sexual intercourse" with Jane.

A few days after those reports were finalized, Glascoff resigned. He was placed on the district's Do Not Hire list.

Also in 2018, CPS commissioned an investigation of the entire school system.

"Their own reports identified that sexual misconduct in the early 2000s, when this occurred, was rampant in the Chicago Public Schools," said Carolyn Daley, Jane's attorney.

That investigation, called the Hickey Report, investigators wrote, "We identify systemic deficiencies in CPS' efforts to prevent and respond  to incidents of sexual misconduct."

The report goes on to cite "systemic deficiencies in training, reporting, aggregating data, tracking trends, and comprehending the extent of the sexual misconduct facing CPS children."

A year later, in 2019, a follow-up report showed CPS had "made significant progress toward protecting its students from sexual misconduct." 

Despite the progress, the report offered several recommendations to make additional improvements.

The legal fight

In fighting Jane Doe's lawsuit, CPS is paying an expert witness, Chicago psychiatrist Dr. Prudence Gourguechon, to testify about her views on childhood sexual abuse, student-teacher sexual relationships, and the impact of trauma after sexual abuse.

CBS 2 exclusively obtained deposition video from Jane Doe's attorney, in which Dr. Gourguechon shares some controversial opinions.

For example, when asked if under any circumstance is a teacher having sex with a student in high school is not sexual abuse, Dr. Gourgeuchon said, "I don't know if every circumstance would qualify as sexual abuse."

When asked if sexual assault is traumatic for the person experiencing it, she said: "It depends. It depends on the detail and how they're defining who's claiming what and what actually happened. I can't make an across-the-board statement."

CPS has settled similar lawsuits involving students in the past.

In 2016, a security guard at Hubbard High School was convicted of aggravated sexual abuse of a minor, involving one student. He was sentenced to three years in prison. He's now out and a registered sex offender.

Two years after the conviction, that student and two others filed civil cases against him. CPS eventually paid the three girls $700,000.

When asked about Jane Doe's case CPS provided CBS 2 the following statement:

The District believes that students who are harmed as a result of a legally-recognized failure on the District's part should be compensated in a reasonable manner that will remedy injuries to the student. In doing that, the District also has a responsibility to the taxpayers who fund the District to ensure that it resolves these cases in a manner that is not just legally justified, but also financially responsible. Unfortunately, disagreements often arise about legal responsibility and what is reasonable compensation in any given case. The purpose of litigation is to resolve those disagreements. The District attempts to come to mutually acceptable resolutions in all cases of this type, and continues to do so here.

Beyond this, the District will not comment while the litigation is pending.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.