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Crowd demands consequences after suburban Chicago school staffer is accused of sex assault

Tempers flare at suburban Chicago school board meeting after sex abuse accusations
Tempers flare at suburban Chicago school board meeting after sex abuse accusations 03:03

BENSENVILLE, Ill. (CBS) -- Leaders at Fenton High School in west suburban Bensenville were confronted Wednesday night by a former student who said she was the victim of a sexual assault by a staff member.

Many frustrated parents also spoke up at a meeting of the Fenton Community High School District 100 board – saying it took too long for the employee to be fired, and they want more consequences.

There was a wide range of emotions at the meeting – from anger and frustration among parents and staff, to tears among students who say they have interacted with the staff member now accused. All are disappointed in the board's decisions.

The most gut-wrenching testimony came from the young woman who said she is a survivor.

The meeting took place in a library at Fenton High School, just days after the school staff member was fired for alleged inappropriate conduct.

The crowd chanted, "Resign now!" at the board members. Many of them also wore T-shirts with the word, "Resign," printed on them.

"You work for us. You do not control us," said district parent Chris McCullough, "and you will not be allowed to manipulate us."

Inside the packed library were parents, students, and some staffers eager to voice their concerns to the board over what they called a lack of transparency.

"This community demands justice and transparency," said Fenton grad and parent Andrea Vallone. "Board members, you can make this right."

According to a leaked police report, the allegations date back to 2015 – and involve numerous students during their time at Fenton High School and after.

"You swept this this under the rug for so many years," said parent Gina S., "and you kept this predator walking the hallway for so many years without taking action."

After nearly an hour of public comment, the former student – whom CBS 2 is not identifying – said she was a survivor.

"I pray that none of your daughters have not, and do not, suffer the karma from your atrocious in this predator's behavior," she told the board.

When the board tried to continue to follow the agenda of the meeting, their silence on the allegations was met with anger. After not being able to continue as the crowd raised their voices, the board walked out.

But this did not happen before several board members were asked for comments beyond their silence.

"I share their anger. I share their frustration. I share all of that," said board member Cary Lewis. "But as a board member here, I have a responsibility to not only this district, but also that as a whole - and I'm going to keep that forth."

When asked if he plans to resign, Lewis said, "Absolutely not."

After the board walked out, the school library was still full of those who attended the meeting Wednesday night. One board member said off camera that he did not sign up for such a situation, and said if not for the love of the students, the meeting Wednesday night would have been his last.

The Bensenville Police Department said the investigation is ongoing.

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