By Rose Bouboushian
CHICAGO (CN) – Two women claim in court that a Chicago-area school district turned a blind eye to a kindergarten teacher accused of fondling their genitals and forcing them to touch his.
Roberto Aguilar “would routinely notify Jane Doe 1’s other teachers that Jane Doe 1 needed tutoring and/or needed to finish her work privately with him” at Woodbine Elementary School in the Chicago suburb of Cicero from 2001 to 2002, according to two lawsuits filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court.
Doe 1, then 5 years old, “therefore could not accompany the other students to gym, music, or art classes,” her complaint states.
But Aguilar, then reportedly 43 years old, was doing more than just tutoring the child, she claims.
“Aguilar engaged in acts of inappropriate sexual conduct and grooming with the plaintiff including, but not limited to, the following: fondled the plaintiff’s genitals on numerous occasions, forced the plaintiff to fondle his genitals and forced her to perform oral sex,” the lawsuit states.
Indeed, Aguilar continued to abuse Doe 1 “through the remainder of the school year in the spring of 2002,” according to the lawsuit.
The school’s principal, teachers, and other employees allegedly “knew or reasonably should have known about Aguilar’s inappropriate behavior towards female students but never reported his activities to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.”
This violated the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act, Doe 1 claims.
Aguilar was arrested in October 2013 “for his misconduct relating to female minor students” at Woodbine, the 28-page complaint states.
Doe 1 and another former student of Aguilar, Jane Doe 2, both now 20, (3) filed nearly identical lawsuits against the school and Cicero School District 99 in Cook County Circuit Court Wednesday.
Jane Doe 2, also now 20 years old, filed a near identical complaint against Woodbine Elementary School and Cicero School District 99.
Doe 2 claims that “during school hours, Aguilar engaged in acts of inappropriate sexual conduct and grooming with the plaintiff including, but not limited to, the following: fondled the plaintiff’s genitals on numerous occasions, forced the plaintiff to fondle his genitals, and forced the plaintiff to sit upon his lap.”
Like Doe 1, Doe 2 claims Aguilar’s misconduct “continued through the remainder of the school year in the spring of 2002.”
Thanks to school employees failing to report Aguilar, his “sexual misconduct with Jane Doe 2 intensified in the frequency and type of sexual grooming, exploitation, manipulation, and contact,” the lawsuit states.
Aguilar was reportedly found living in Salinas, Calif. in 2013, eight years after a 9-year-old alleged he had abused her in Cicero during the 2001-2002 school year, according to a report from My Suburban Life.
“As she got older, and understood what happened, she knew it wasn’t right,” Cicero Deputy Superintendent of Investigations Jose Gonzalez reportedly said.
The 12-count complaints assert claims for negligent, willful and wanton retention and failure to supervise and report.
The unnamed plaintiffs seek economic damages and a jury trial. They are represented by Katherine Cárdenas with Lucas and Cárdenas in Chicago.
Representatives for the district and school board did not return requests for comment emailed Thursday.