Two separate discussions today with authors of two huge investigative series.
We begin with Juan Perez, Jr and Jennifer Smith Richards. Juan’s the education reporter for the Chicago Tribune and Jennifer’s a Tribune investigative data reporter. Together with about 20 of their colleagues, they reported the new series “Betrayed” over the last couple of weeks.
Their work outlines, in great detail, ten years of sexual abuse inflicted on students at CPS, much of it at the hands of teachers, coaches and other school staffers.
In this conversation, Perez, Jr and Smith Richards discuss the fact that CPS has internally investigated hundreds of cases of sexual abuse of juveniles committed by adult employees in school buildings since 2011. And the Board’s own law department often stands against the victims since CPS attorneys will interview victims, and then later, if the student files suit, use some of those same statements against the student when defending CPS. They tell us that it is not illegal in Illinois for a teacher to have sexual contact with a student when the student is 18 or older, and that CPS doesn’t always notify subsequent employers that an individual was involved in sexual misconduct while employed at CPS.
They also recount their stories of some of the worst offenders, including a track coach and a choir director who were later convicted of raping students at their homes and, in some cases, in classrooms at their schools.
Read the Tribune coverage here.
Part 2 (beginning at 29:00)
In the second part of today’s show, we talk with he BGA’s Alejandra Cancino, who, along with WBEZ’s Odette Yousef, reported on the shocking neglect of elevators in all of the CHA’s high-rise buildings. Most of those buildings serve elderly residents, many of whom are in ill health.
Their findings revealed that the CHA could produce no evidence that any of its 150 elevators were inspected at all during 2016, that elevator mechanical systems in buildings constructed in the 1950s had never been overhauled or modernized, and that the Chicago Fire Department was dispatched nearly 700 times to CHA buildings in the past four years to rescue residents from stuck elevators. In one building, the management was so frustrated by the situation that they shut off one especially unreliable elevator on weekends to avoid trapping tenants.
Read the BGA/WBEZ reports here.
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