Farragut Career Academy Security Guard Charged With Sexually Assaulting Underage Student

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

A security guard at a Little Village high school has been removed and criminally charged after he allegedly plied an underage student with alcohol and sexually assaulted her.

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Farragut Career Academy High School security guard Romel Campoverde, 43, appeared in court Wednesday following his arrest on a charge of criminal sexual assault of a victim between the ages of 13-17.

He was ordered held on a $100,000 D-bond, meaning he must pay $10,000 to be released from custody.

According to Cook County prosecutors, Campoverde met the 15-year-old victim when she was a freshman at the school. He allegedly provided her with his Snapchat username and they began communicating and meeting outside of school during her sophomore year.

Assistant State’s Attorney Anne McCord-Rodgers said Campoverde took the victim to a mall, bought her a pair of shoes and gave her $40 for a haircut, and later provided her with alcohol and invited her to his home after prom.

Campoverde allegedly made plans with the victim to meet on June 25, 2023. He took her to a McDonald’s and then bought eight cans of a tequila mixed drink, having the victim drink six of those cans while drinking two himself, McCord-Rodgers said.

The victim became extremely intoxicated as Campoverde drove around 31st Street Beach where he allegedly attempted to kiss her and pull down her shirt, according to prosecutors. He then took her to an RV he’d parked around 26th Street and South Blue Island Avenue, where he sexually assaulted her despite her pleas for him to stop, McCord-Rodgers said.

The victim exited the RV and immediately called a friend to tell them what had happened, before Campoverde drove her to her home, according to McCord-Rodgers. The victim then told a school employee about the incident the following day and Chicago police were notified.

Investigators searching Campoverde‘s RV recovered two of the victim’s distinctive press-on nails and found towels and a blanket with an apparent blood stain, McCord-Rodgers said. Campoverde was subsequently arrested Monday.

Farragut principal Tonya Hammaker wrote a letter to parents and families last week, notifying them that “one of our non-teaching staff members engaged inappropriately with a student.” Hammaker said that employee had been removed from the school and that Chicago Public Schools’ Office of the Inspector General had launched an investigation into the matter.

“Please know that we are taking this situation seriously, and we remain committed to providing your children with a safe, positive learning environment where they can reach their full potential,” Hammaker wrote in the letter.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Ankur Srivastava said it appeared as though the victim viewed Campoverde as a father figure, and that his actions leading up to the alleged assault “in my view constitute grooming.”

“This was not a one-time lapse in judgment,” Srivastava said. “It appears to me to be a premeditated offense that was planned for on June 25, 2023.”

Campoverde is due back in court for a hearing Aug. 8.

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson[email protected] | (773) 509-5431

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