The Sexual Assault Charges Against An Illinois Principal Highlights One Of The Biggest Problems In Our Education System
According to a 2008 report by the Oregonian, there are quite a few reasons as to why sexual abuse occurs in schools. Among the reasons include the fact that perpetrators of such sexual misconduct and abuse are not consistently enough disciplined and brought to justice. As an example of proof, the Oregonian highlighted the fact that in incidents where teachers are engaged in a sexual relationship with a student, one in four teachers had committed and been disciplined for similar actions but allowed to return to school. What’s more, the study says that for every teacher charged with sexual abuse of a student, there is one who will never be charged despite admitting to their actions to school officials.
The case of an elementary school principal charged with sexual abuse of a teenager is highlighting this deep-seated problem within the school system once again after one of his victims came forward with his abuse.
Illinois elementary school principal Curtiss Tolefree was charged with three counts of sexual assault of a student by school staff and two counts of exposing genitals to a child earlier this week.
Tolefree, a 42-year-old principal of Beulah Park Elementary School, faces criminal charges in Wisconsin after authorities accused him of repeatedly sexually abusing a teenage student in incidents that took place almost a decade ago. Accorind to online court records, Tolefree was charged with two counts of exposing genitals to a child and three counts of sexual assault of a student by school staff. According to local reports, Tolefree was put on administrative leave by the school the moment they were made aware of the charges. A report by Kenosha News alleges that an anonymous woman came to authorities in 2018 with claims that he had abused her when she was a 17-year-old junior at Bradford High School. According to the unnamed woman the relationship began in 2009 and continued into 2009 at a time whenTolefree was dean of students at the high school.
The unidentified woman said in her complainant that her behavior in school of ten caused her to be sent to Tolefree’s office for discipline.
In her complaint to the police, the woman said that she had sex with Tolefree for the first time in his office in the fall of 2008 and that the two had sex an almost daily basis during the course of her junior year. Sexual encounters also occurred outside of school at Tolefree’s home and hotel rooms. According to the woman, Tolefree would often call her out of class to have sex. The police complaint states that when the woman started seeing another person in early 2010 Tolefree became jealous.
The high school dean allegedly told the woman that she ought to focus on school when she began seeing someone.
The woman’s complaint claims that when she told Tolefree she had started to see someone else he urged that “she should be focusing on school and should not be getting into a relationship with someone.” In reply, the woman told Tolefree that she replied by telling him “that what the defendant and she had been doing was wrong.”
In response to the allegations, Zion School District 6 Superintendent Dr. Keely Roberts addressed the claims in a letter to parents.
“On December 9, 2019, Zion School District 6 was notified that Curtiss Tolefree, Principal at Beulah Park Elementary School has been charged in Kenosha, Wisconsin with 3 counts of Sexual Assault of Student by School Staff and 2 counts of Exposing Genitals to a Child,” Dr. Roberts wrote. “According to the Kenosha District Attorney’s charging documents, the current charges stem from an incident that occurred in September of 2008, which is before Mr. Tolefree was employed by Zion Elementary School District 6. Based on the information provided to the District, there is no indication whatsoever that the alleged criminal conduct involves District 6 or its students. Immediately upon learning of the charges, Mr. Tolefree was placed on administrative leave. Ms. Jackson, Assistant Principal, will continue to uphold the administrative responsibilities for Beulah Park Elementary School.”
According to a report by The Kenosha News, Tolefree was accused of having inappropriate sexual relationships with at least two staffers at a middle school in Wisconsin in 2018. At the time he was the school’s principal.
Whether or not Tolefree has entered pleas to the charges remains unknown at this time.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages. Online chat is available 24/7/365 in Spanish. Get help without saying a word.