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Crime & Courts

Downers Grove North alum discusses alleged sexual harassment by teacher

A teacher at Downers Grove North High School is on administrative leave following accusations of sexual harassment.
A teacher at Downers Grove North High School is on administrative leave following accusations of sexual harassment.

DOWNERS GROVE – Jennifer Boudinot didn't hesitate when asked what prompted her to accuse a veteran Downers Grove North High School teacher of sexual harassment almost 18 years after she graduated from the school.

“Roy Moore is why I said something,” Boudinot said Nov. 28 from her home in New York. “It just makes me angry.”

Moore, the controversial GOP nominee for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama, allegedly had sexual contact with a 14-year-old in the 1970s and pursued other teenage girls when he was in his 30s, according to a report published in The Washington Post.

“This is enough,” Boudinot said. “It was enough when I was a student.”

The teacher has been placed on administrative leave following Boudinot’s accusations.

The matter is under investigation by the Downers Grove Police Department, but no charges have been filed. The teacher hasn’t been in school for nearly two weeks.

In a Nov. 20 Facebook post, Boudinot, a professional writer, said that during her time at the school, the teacher allegedly sexually harassed her and her friends.

"Unfortunately, the assistant band director, who was also in charge of the auditorium crew technicians, used his position of power to take advantage of me and my classmates," Boudinot said in the post. "As a lot of you know, last week I started an email address with a friend – We have received information about this teacher from women with graduation years spanning 16 years, with reports of him making lewd and suggestive comments all the way to sexual assault."

Boudinot said she called the police two weeks ago.

“It took 20 years to pick up the phone and call the Downers Grove police,” an emotional Boudinot said.

Amid the national discussion on sexual predators, Boudinot wrote a Facebook post that asked if people recalled the relationships that existed between students and teachers in high school.

“It seemed to me when I was a student this was going on,” she said.

Boudinot received a response from a woman who also is a Downers Grove North alum who named the teacher that Boudinot accused of sexual harassment. The woman thought she was the only one who allegedly was sexually harassed by the teacher, Boudinot said.

Boudinot then wrote the Nov. 20 post in which she included an email address for other alleged victims to contact her.

"It really has been eye opening to talk to a lot of the women," she said. "It's really important to me. I want to help them bear that burden."

During her days at Downers Grove North, Boudinot said she knew of three classmates who allegedly were sexually abused by the teacher.

"This is a person using their position of power," she said.

Boudinot said she didn't report the incidents when she was a student because she did not think anyone would believe her.

"I never thought about it," she said.

Boudinot added teenagers are not prepared to handle sexual predators.

"No one ever tells you one day a man is going to say something gross," she said.

Superintendent Hank Thiele notified Community High School District 99 staff, students and families of the allegations in a Nov. 28 email.

"It was brought to our attention recently that conversations on social media pointed to potentially inappropriate behavior on the part of a current teacher at North High," Thiele said. "In response, we immediately began gathering facts surrounding the concerns and placed the teacher on administrative leave. Since then, the Downers Grove Police Department has opened an investigation."

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Downers Grove police at 630-434-5500.

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