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ChicagoCAC Statement on Reported Sexual Abuse at Marine Leadership Academy

This morning, along with the rest of the city, ChicagoCAC learned about multiple instances of sexual harm that occurred at Marine Leadership Academy, a CPS school. This information was shared at a CPS news conference with statements from CEO Pedro Martinez and in news stories shortly thereafter. 

We are extremely saddened to know this harm occurred, likely over many years. We support the survivors, students, parents and staff struggling to understand how this could have happened at their school. We also are glad that CPS took action against these staff.  CPS has a strong code of conduct policy which supported them taking this action. 

ChicagoCAC continues to fight for changes in statewide policy and legislation that reduce loopholes in student protection. Some of our highest priorities are protecting students experiencing grooming and those who are still in school over age 18 from being victimized by those who are responsible for educating them and caring for their safety and welfare. These issues are directly relevant to some of what  we have heard about the incidents at Marine Leadership Academy. 

During this most recent legislative session, we worked with Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-56, IL House) and survivor advocate Faith Colson on HB1975 (Faith’s Law). This new legislation helps to close some of these loopholes for all schools. It does so  by enhancing the definition of grooming in the criminal code, adding “grooming” in the definition of an abused child in ANCRA (the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act), and expanding the definition of sexual misconduct in the Illinois school code to align with longtime CPS protocol. 

Faith’s Law currently awaits Governor Pritzker’s signature.  Given today’s news, we call on him to sign Faith’s Law as soon as possible – Illinois’s students cannot afford to wait for the protection they deserve. 

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