A teacher at St. Procopius School – a Catholic middle school in the Pilsen section of Chicago – has been arrested on allegations that she sexually abused two students at the school.
According to the Chicago Police, 27-year-old Yesenia Rodriguez allegedly sexually abused a 14-year-old boy and made physical contact with a 13-year-old boy at the school. She has been a teacher there since 2014.
Rodriguez has been suspended and the Archdiocese said she will be away from the school until the investigation concludes.
Police say that Rodriguez abused the 14-year-old student on May 1, 2018. She also allegedly sexually battered a 13-year-old near the school from September 15, 2018, until January 25, 2019.
Rodriguez was arrested on Monday, January 28 and charged with felony aggravated criminal sexual assault and misdemeanor battery. The Department of Child and Family Services first told the Archdiocese about these allegations and the arrest.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent is a former prosecutor who now specializes in helping sexual abuse survivors and their families find justice in civil cases and those looking for a school abuse lawyer. Here is some input from Brian on the legal options for school sex abuse survivors and their families:
Our children spend half of their days at school. We all trust that their teachers, counselors, coaches, and other school employees are honorable professionals. While this is usually the case, there are sadly many sexual predators in our schools. These predators seek out positions of trust and exploit this trust in order to traumatize children with horrible crimes of sexual abuse. We must make sure that these predators are prosecuted for their crimes. Additionally, in cases of sexual abuse by a school employee, it’s important to determine if the school was negligent in a way that enabled the abuse to happen.
For example, a school could be considered negligent in a case involving the sexual abuse of a student by a school employee if the school failed to run a background check before hiring the employee, which could have revealed a history of sexual misconduct. In cases of negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit.
If you or your child is a survivor of sexual abuse by a teacher, coach, or another school employee, we understand how difficult this time has been for your family. To learn more about your family’s legal options, get in touch with one of our experienced sexual abuse survivors attorneys for a free consultation.