High School in Chicago Faces Suit Over Abusive Coach

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Roberto Clemente High School is facing a lawsuit that alleges administrators didn’t do enough to stop a predatory coach.

According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, administrators at the school had received multiple complaints about inappropriate behavior by girls' volleyball and swimming coach Casino Cruz.

Cruz will stand trial next week on misdemeanor battery charges, after a 14-year-old girl said that Cruz “inappropriately touched” her thigh. Cruz was suspended after his arrest, but the parents of two Clemente freshman girls have filed a lawsuit alleging he could have been stopped much earlier.

The civil suit brought against the coach and the Chicago Board of Education claims the district failed to act even after multiple reports of wrongdoing, including an arrest in 2003 for touching a female student on the swim team. Cruz was also reported for inappropriate behavior in 2012 and 2014.

John Perkaus, attorney for the families, told the Sun-Times, “The Board of Ed has been on notice for a long time, since 2003 and as recently as 2014 that Mr. Cruz is a danger and a predator… and he has been allowed to remain at the school, acting as security guard, volleyball coach and dean. 

The lawsuit claims that the Cruz used his position as a dean to remove students from class, and as a coach to “groom” girls for abuse.

“Cruz routinely tested the boundaries of female students with seemingly innocuous acts such as hugging or ‘accidentally’ touching a student in an inappropriate manner or place,” the lawsuit states, adding that included hugging girls “tightly, touching" teens in their swimsuits and “excessive touching” of volleyball players while in uniform.

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