A Chicago Public Schools teacher has been charged with criminal sexual abuse after a student came forward with allegations of inappropriate comments and touching in a classroom at Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy.
Cook County prosecutors and Chicago police say that 55-year-old Michael Hock made comments about the girl’s cheerleading uniform and touched her inappropriately in March 2017. This alleged incident happened in front of three other students in a sixth-grade math class, according to the authorities.
Hock had a bail hearing on Saturday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building. Prosecutors said that Hock humiliated the girl with his inappropriate touching and that she hesitated to come forward about the incident because “everyone already knew.” His bail was set at $10,000 and he was ordered not to contact anyone under 18 years old while the case is ongoing.
Earlier this year, another teacher overheard the girl talking about the incident with other students, which led to the girl reporting Hock on March 22. He has been removed from his position pending the outcome of the investigation.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent is a former sex crimes prosecutor who now serves as a civil attorney and school sexual abuse attorney, helping survivors find justice through lawsuits and settlements. Here are some general thoughts from Brian on the legal rights of school sex abuse survivors and their families:
Public schools have a responsibility to do all that they can to keep their students safe from sexual predators. Sadly, predators are often found in schools and other fields that involve working with children. When allegations of abuse arise, they must be investigated immediately and suspected abuse must be reported to the authorities in a timely manner.
When a public school fails to prevent, investigate, or report sexual abuse of students by an employee, the victims and their families may have the right to file a lawsuit. In order to have a strong case, the victims and their lawyers will need to establish negligence. Examples of negligence might include:
If you or your child is a survivor of sexual abuse by a school employee, you can learn more about your family’s legal options by speaking to an experienced sex abuse survivors lawyer.