Flossmoor police and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office have confirmed they are continuing to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse by a member of the Western Avenue School staff that were reported last fall.
The victim’s lawyer, Mark Brown, said the abuse took place at the school over a period of four years and reportedly ended about a decade ago. The child is now 17 years old.
Brown said the child has suffered for years from the trauma but the situation was not revealed to her family until she confided in her therapist in fall 2021.
“She had been living in silence all these years and was tortured by this,” Brown said. “Her parents knew there was a change in her that began early in elementary schoool. Other family members noticed it but they never knew what the root cause of this was until this came out.”
Brown said he has represented a number of sexual abuse victims and in his experience, victims often live with the trauma in silence for long periods of time, believing they have no recourse.
Flossmoor police and the state’s attorney’s office were notified, and the staff member was put on paid leave when the allegation was made and remains on leave, according to Flossmoor School District 161 Superintendent Dana Smith.
Flossmoor Police Chief Tod Kamleiter confirmed the investigation is still being conducted. The state’s attorney’s office also confirmed the investigation is ongoing but declined to provide more details.
There have been mixed accounts of the timeline for the investigation. The initial investigation began in October, according to the family. According to a District 161 memo to parents, the investigation concluded late in the fall without charges being filed.
Brown said the state’s attorney’s office confirmed the investigation resumed on Dec. 20, but the district did not communicate that fact to the school community until Feb. 18, after news reports about the investigation were published.
In the Feb. 18 memo, Smith said the district was notified that day that the investigation had resumed, and he told the Chronicle he stands by the statement.
Brown said the family hopes the district will keep the community informed about any further developments in the case.
“The family is hopeful there will be charges eventually but they understand that the police detectives are working hard in their investigation and are trying not to disturb that,” Brown said.