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Sexual abuse allegations at Chicago high school involve more than one administrator, attorneys say

Lawsuit alleges culture of sexual abuse at Chicago high school
Lawsuit alleges culture of sexual abuse at Chicago high school 03:02

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A former Chicago Public Schools student courageously shared her story of surviving sexual abuse on Wednesday on CBS 2.

The former dean of her high school faces criminal sexual assault charges and now a civil lawsuit. It now turns out the lawsuit may go beyond just one CPS administrator.

"I just felt like I couldn't have a normal life," said a 25-year-old woman called Jane Doe in the lawsuit.

Attorneys for the victim said her case is far from isolated. Tragically, they anticipate more than a dozen survivors to come forward with allegations of grooming and sexual abuse at the hands of CPS teachers and administrators.

"I went through a lot during that, and I went through it by myself, and I was very young," said Doe.

Doe was just a high school sophomore when she said her dean at the time, Brian Crowder, sexually groomed her through Snapchat. She asked that her real identity be concealed.

"I couldn't tell anybody, you know? He was like: 'You can't tell nobody; like, it has to stay between us,'" said Doe. "So I just like bottled everything inside of me."

Crowder was the dean at Little Village Lawndale High School. He resigned from his position and has since been criminally charged with sexual assault.

He now faces a civil lawsuit.

"He impregnated her twice. He coerced into two abortions," said Doe's attorney, Martin Gould. "He told her he loved her. He told her he wanted to have a family with her when she was an adult."

Former Chicago Public Schools student describes culture of sexual abuse 02:21

The complaint alleges, "Rather than abiding by the law, Dean Crowder fraudulently told the staff at the abortion clinic that he was a parent of Doe."

"I was young. I was scared," said Doe. "I didn't want to have an abortion."

Doe said she told a teacher about the sexual abuse at the time — but despite being a mandatory reporter, that teacher never reported it.

De Mar: "Do you feel that this teacher, CPS as a whole, failed you; let you down?"

Doe: "I mean, yes. You know, like, she should have spoke up and said something about it."

"Every teacher must understand the consequences if they do not report abuse," Gould said.

Doe's attorneys say they have since learned of a culture of grooming and sexual abuse at Little Village Lawndale High School.

"We have been made aware of other teachers, deans, administrators, principals who were investigated by the OIG's office, related to students in neighboring CPS schools," said attorney Mike Grieco. "This Jane Doe is just the tip of the iceberg."

CBS 2 also talked with a former Chicago Public Schools Office of the Inspector General's investigator who worked in the sexual allegations unit – and who asked to remain anonymous. She said she was looking into several allegations of grooming and sexual abuse involving multiple staff members at Little Village Lawndale High School before she was fired last summer.

"Mr. Crowder is not an anomaly," the former investigator said. "He was not the only staff member at the high school engaging in sexual misconduct with students."

"We anticipate that this to turn into, unfortunately, a much bigger case —  with well over a dozen survivors coming forward," added Gould.

Doe hopes her trauma can help others heal.

"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."

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