Chicago Police say that a former gym teacher and softball coach at Thornton Township High School has been arrested for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a student and engaging in sexual misconduct with at least 2 others. 42-year-old Jason Hardy is accused of initiating a sexual relationship with one of the girls on his softball team in 2010, when she was 17 years old and he was 33.
The authorities believe that Hardy got the girl pregnant twice during this relationship and forced her to abort both pregnancies.
The girl who told investigators about the alleged abortions came forward after another student said that Hardy inappropriately touched her in 2018. The mother of the first girl reported the alleged inappropriate touching to the Harvey Police and Hardy was arrested on misdemeanor battery charges.
The woman who claims she got two abortions came forward shortly after the first girl’s mother made a Facebook encouraging other victims of Hardy to speak out. Hardy was arrested again on May 16, 2019, and charged with criminal sexual assault.
Prosecutors also say they’d found two more victims but that neither one desires to press charges right now.
Hardy resigned from the school in December of 2018.
School sexual abuse attorney and contributor Brian Kent has experience representing victims of sexual abuse in civil lawsuits. Here is some general information from Brian on the legal options available to school employee sex abuse victims and their families:
Sexual abuse in schools is a nationwide problem and the Chicago area has been hit particularly hard with widespread reports of teachers and other staff members sexually abusing students. When this happens, the victims and their families have legal rights.
Education is a high-risk field for sexual abuse because of the fact that adults are working with children. This means that sexual predators often seek out positions in education. School administrators must be aware of the dangers these predators pose to their students and act accordingly in order to keep their students safe.
In some cases of school employee sex abuse, the school district is partially responsible for failing to prevent or stop the abuse due to negligence. For example, a school could be considered negligent if there had been previous complaints of sexual misconduct by a staff member but no action was taken by the school, such as contacting law enforcement.
In cases of negligence, school sex abuse victims may have the right to file a lawsuit. If you or your child is a victim of sex abuse by a school employee, you can learn more about your legal options by contacting an experienced sex abuse victim attorney.