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10 staff members at Chicago high school are being fired after sexual abuse incidents

Nov. 19, 2021
District officials say 12 employees at Marine Leadership Academy either committed or covered up sexual abuse.

Twelve staff members at a Chicago secondary school either committed or covered up sexual abuse that dates back at least two years, district officials have announced  ahead of the release of an Inspector General report.

Ten adults who worked at the Marine Leadership Academy in the city's Logan Park neighborhood have been fired or are in the process of being fired stemming from the incidents at the school, district CEO Pedro Martinez announced.

“The behavior uncovered by this investigation represents a stunning betrayal of trust and colossal failure of judgment and character on the part of far too many individuals,” Martinez said.

The sexual misconduct occurred between 2016 and the spring of 2021, Martinez said. One case involved a teacher engaging in a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old student, and another teacher was found to have started a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old student “immediately after” graduation.

One teacher was accused of sexually harassing a student; a school volunteer allegedly groomed multiple students.

Six employees failed to report and “actively hid” the alleged misconduct. Three adults remain under investigation for inappropriate personal relationships with students, but “we don’t have evidence of sexual abuse,” Martinez said.

All staff members have been removed from Marine Leadership Academy.

Erin Galfer — who served as principal of Marine Leadership Academy before being named deputy chief of the district's Office of College and Career Success over the summer — was recently fired, Martinez said.

Through her attorney, Galfer said she was “wrongly terminated” and that the district “long knew about the misconduct and did not take timely steps to protect the students.”

Marine Leadership Academy, which is affiliated with the U.S. Marine Corps JROTC program, serves 775 students in grades seven through 12, according to the district.

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