Former Student Suing Chicago Public Schools Following Years of Alleged Sexual Abuse

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

An ex-Chicago Public Schools student who alleged she was sexually assaulted by a school administrator has filed a lawsuit against the district, saying it failed to protect her from the abuse.

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

The former student, referred to in the lawsuit only as Jane Doe, has said she was sexually abused over the course of multiple years at the hands of Brian Crowder, the former dean of students at the Greater Lawndale High School for Social Justice, which is located within Little Village Lawndale High School.

Crowder resigned his position in September 2021 and was charged with criminal sexual assault the following year after he was accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting the then-underage student.

“The silence and inaction of CPS, by and through its administration, faculty, staff, and other agents, facilitated Brian Crowder’s grooming and exploitation of Jane Doe, a student in their care, for the duration of her time as a student at LVLHS from 2012-2016,” the student’s attorneys wrote in the complaint.

That alleged abuse began in 2013 when Crowder started messaging the victim, who was then 15, over the social media app Snapchat, according to Cook County prosecutors.

Crowder allegedly began sending the girl videos of himself, including one in which he stated “I want you.” During the summer of 2013, he began bringing the girl to his home and on one occasion he gave her alcohol and proceeded to sexually assault her, prosecutors said.

Crowder and the victim had sexual intercourse five to six times per month from that summer until the summer of 2015, prosecutors have alleged, and at some point in 2014 Crowder allegedly posed as her stepfather so he could sign a consent form and pay for her to get an abortion.

This allegedly occurred a second time in 2015, when the girl was a senior in high school.

The abuse ended in 2015, according to prosecutors, but Crowder eventually reached out to the victim again in 2019, and when she didn’t respond, he found out where she was working and called again at her place of employment.

After she told a friend about the abuse and filed a report with the Chicago Police Department in September 2021, Crowder allegedly texted her saying “Goodbye forever.”

In the victim’s lawsuit, she claimed Crowder’s abuse was likely known among other staffers at their school, but nothing was done to stop it.

“Throughout the time that Jane Doe was being sexually abused by Dean Crowder, many faculty, staff, and administrators in the office would joke about how much time was spent alone between Crowder and Jane Doe in Crowder’s office, and make jokes about a romantic interest,” the victim’s attorneys wrote in their lawsuit. “As a result of the lack of concern by the CPS employees at LVLHS, the sexual abuse continued.”

According to the lawsuit, the victim lived in “constant fear” of Crowder following her first abortion, but felt she couldn’t tell anyone what had happened because Crowder was in charge of disciplining students and teachers at the school.

The victim claimed she did eventually tell one teacher at the school about the abuse, but that teacher failed to report what was happening and the abuse continued.

CPS said in a statement that upon learning of the allegations, the district removed Crowder from his position. He later resigned and is currently ineligible to be rehired within CPS while an ongoing investigation by the district’s Office of Inspector General remains pending.

“Chicago Public Schools (CPS), prioritizes the safety and well-being of our students,” a district spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”

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

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors