Why Was Former CPS Security Guard Free For 10 Years After Abuse Claim? – CBS Chicago
It happened at Harlan Community Academy High School in the Roseland neighborhood. Police and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services were alerted at the time.
But prosecutors said the sexual abuse continued for more than a decade. On Wednesday, CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey was asking if other young suspected victims could have been spared.
The sign on the building here at Harlan High School, 9652 S. Michigan Ave., “Safe school zone.”
But in 2009, investigators said it was not safe at all for a student who came into contact with James Wilson.
That girl should have been his last victim, but prosecutors say that sadly that was not the case.
“It’s just sad. Like, I don’t even want to go into detail about what he’s done,” the alleged victim’s mother said in an Aug. 29 interview. “But he is a creep.”
CBS 2 hid the identity of the mother, who said she walked in on Wilson with her 7-year-old daughter in 2013.
The girl is one of four alleged victims included in the former security guard’s indictment last month on multiple counts of predatory criminal sexual assault.
“I didn’t have my kid for him to just take from me like that, her innocence or her childhood,” the girl’s mother said. “You only get one childhood and then it’s gone forever.”
But the alleged victim and her mother didn’t know that another young girl sounded the alarm on Wilson more than four years earlier.
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CPS investigative records obtained by CBS 2 show that a Harlan High School student said Wilson pulled her out of class, took her to a room by herself, and started asking her questions about sex.
Phone records obtained by CPS showed he later lied about contacting her.
Records also show that the DCFS was part of that investigation, and made a finding of sexual exploitation. Wilson resigned soon after.
But according to prosecutors, that didn’t stop Wilson from sexually abusing young girls for another 10 years.
“In theory, DCFS could have offered services to this individual, and they could have offered counseling to him,” said Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert. “They’re not legally obligated to do so.”
Golbert acknowledged exactly what a DCFS spokesperson told Hickey on Wednesday – that they did their job by notifying the Illinois State Board of Education.
But in terms of any follow-up, or getting Wilson therapy or counseling, that’s where the DCFS’ authority ends.
Golbert also questions why Wilson wasn’t prosecuted for something like harassment, which may have included probation conditions for monitoring and counseling.
“He was charged precisely with protecting children in the school district and instead, he was using that position of trust and authority and his badge to molest children in the school system,” Golbert said. “And if that’s a case that screams out and cries out for criminal prosecution, I’m not sure what is.”
Several of Wilson’s victims have asked why he was allowed to resign from CPS and why he wasn’t fired after the report.
CBS 2 has reached out to CPS for comment. So far, they haven’t given us a response.