Rape by charter school coach is only part of the problem... EPIC took over a decent public school building for a dollar a year, 'experiments' on its students, and has allegedly been 'dumping' many of them back into Bowen
On January 24, 2013, Chicago's corporate media began reporting that a charter school coach on the city's far South Side had been arrested for rape. On January 25, the story developed with the report from the courtroom on the charging of the coach (which included a dramatic outburst from the mother of the alleged victim). By the time of the court hearing, the story was about an "ex-coach."The story of the Epic charter school that's being told today, however, is only a part of the story. And for Chicago's charters, it may be the tip of a very corrupt iceberg. [Updated corporate media stories on the rape charges follow this article].
Students at Epic Charter High School have been telling me and others that they feel the school doesn't know how to run properly. "They're experimenting," the students say (while remaining anonymous for now). When asked what they mean by "experimenting," the students say that almost all of the teachers are new and inexperienced.
At nearby Bowen High School, I am told, again by off-the-record sources, that in the middle of the year last school year, students from Epic would show up. They had been kicked out of Epic.
As Substance readers know, this charter school policy has been going on elsewhere in Chicago as well for some time. The charters qualify for their funding based on the number of students they have in October. Then in January, many of them "dump" their least successful students -- those who are most likely to score "low" on standardized tests -- back into the city's real public schools. The charter school test scores go "up," and the problems are foisted on the local real public high schools.
The evening news on January 24, 2013, (Channel 9) reported that the basketball coach at Epic High School was arrested and charged with rape of a female student. There were bright camera lights on the big building, located on 83rd and Houston.
But community leaders, union leaders, and others know there is a much broader story here. The Epic charter school was created on what the community still feels to be the grave of what had been South Chicago Elementary School.
What the current corporate news stories in January 2013 didn't tell the viewers is that in June of 2009, 280 young students were kicked out of their elementary neighborhood school building, one that had just been rehabilitated at a cost of millions of dollars.
The "South Chicago Elementary School," a real public school, made an impassioned plea both during the hearings on the proposed closing of its building and at the Board of Education meeting that voted to close it. A few months later, the same Board voted to lease the building, with its new windows and fresh rehab, to the charter school at the rate of $1 per year! So the story of South Chicago Elementary School continues, and memories are still fresh. The newly remodeled building was immediately flipped into a charter school. Epic began operations in what had been South Chicago Elementary School in September, 2009.
WGN NEWS STORY BELOW HERE: Ex-coach charged (WGN TV, January 25, 2013)
The coach accused of sexually assaulting a teen student appeared in court Friday morning.
One of the victim's mothers was screaming and had to be escorted out of the courthouse by Cook County SheriffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Deputies following the hearing.
33-year-old Kevin Jones was charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault and one count of attempted criminal sexual assault. He was a basketball coach at Epic Academy Charter School on the South Side.
Prosecutors said that Jones drove a 17-year-old girl and her friend home after a basketball game last Thursday. He parked his car in an alley in the 8500 block of South Green Bay Avenue and got into the back seat with the girls. Prosecutors said he tried to force one of the girls to perform a sex act on him, but she resisted and got out of the car. Prosecutors also said the girl then witnessed Jones and her friend engage in a sex act.
Assistant State's Attorney Joell Zahr said "The offender then drove victim number one home and victim number two told a teacher at the school the following day, victim number one told her mother a few days later."
One of the girl's attorneys spoke to reporters after the hearing Friday.
Brad Cosgrove said. "My client is upset by the conduct of her coach, betrayal of coach."
But Jones's attorney, Jeffrey Granich, said his client is innocent of these charges. He says Jones is married with two young children, serves as a deacon at his church and has no criminal history.
"At this point we're all shocked about these charges, he's lead an exemplary life, he's a good, we're looking forward to the trial and clearing his name,"Â Granich said.
Parents said they are disturbed by the charges against the coach, but they have good things to say about the school and its principal. "I'm shocked that it happened at this school, because the principal takes care of his students, so I'm shocked."Â
[WGN note: Read more at http://wgntv.com/news/stories/hs-coach-charged-with-sex-assault/#LftydFBDLRyUd3si.99 ]
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES STORY JANUARY 26, 2013 ON LINE AND IN PRINT BELOW HERE:
Basketball coach held on $500,000 bail in sexual assault, BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org January 25, 2013 2:00PM
The former boysâ€™ basketball coach at a Chicago Public School charter school was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bail Friday for allegedly forcing a 17-year-old student to perform a sex act in the back of his car.
Kevin Jones, who was a part-time coach at Epic Academy, 8255 S. Houston, also allegedly pushed another 17-year-old girlâ€™s head and shoulders onto his lap after he unzipped his pants on the night of Jan. 17, assistant Cook County stateâ€™s attorney Joell Zahr said.
Jones, 33, had been taking the girls home after a basketball game before driving into the alley in the 8500 block of South Green Bay and attacking the teenagers, authorities said.
Jones, a married father of two, allegedly went into the back seat with the girls and first tried to assault one of them, who successfully resisted.
According to a police report, Jones put his arm around the other girl and told the first girl to get out of the vehicle.
That girl got out but then realized she didn't know where she was, so she came back to the card and saw the other two engaged in a sex act, the report said.
Jones eventually took the second girl home, Zahr said.
The first girl told a teacher about the alleged incident at Epic the next day. The second girl told her mother a few days later, Zahr said.
Jones was not a teacher at the school, according to a prepared statement from Epic Academy. As of Jan. 18, he was no longer working at the school.
Jones, of the 8300 block of South Kerfoot, is facing sexual assault and attempted criminal sexual assault charges.
Judge Edward Harmenling forbade Jones to have any contact with children under the age of 18 other than his children, which means he can no longer work at LEARN charter school, 1700 W. 83rd St., where he teaches physical education.
Although the alleged incident did not occur at LEARN or with any of its students, Jones was terminated from the school, said a statement from LEARN officials Friday.
During Friday's bond hearing, the mother of one of the victims was escorted out of the court by her family members when she cried out, "That's my child."
The women's relatives followed her outside, where she crumpled to the floor. Jones, a Robeson High School and Chicago State University graduate, is currently working on a master's degree at Concordia University, his attorney Jeffrey Granich said.
"We're shocked by the allegations. He's led an examplary life. He's a very good guy," Granich said.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE STORY ON THE ALLEGATIONS BELOW HERE:
Victim's mom removed from hearing for coach charged with sexual assault
Charter school suspends boys basketball trainer, January 25, 2013|By Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune reporter
The mother of an underage girl who was allegedly sexually assaulted by the basketball coach at her South Side high school began wailing at his bond hearing and had to be dragged out of the courthouse by supporters.
â€œThatâ€™s my (expletive) child!â€ the woman screamed over and over as prosecutors detailed allegations against the coach, Kevin Jones.
After deputies escorted the woman out of the courtroom, she fell to the floor wailing and later had to be physically pulled from the courthouse. Court personnel later identified her as the mother of one of two underage victims, both 17.
Jones, 33, a varsity boys basketball coach at Epic Academy Charter High School in the 8200 block of South Houston Avenue, was charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault and one count of attempted criminal sexual assault.
Prosecutors said Jones was driving the 17-year-old girl and her friend home from an away basketball game on Jan. 17 when he parked the car in an alley in the 8500 block of South Green Bay Avenue.
Jones got into the back seat of the car with the victims and unzipped his pants, Assistant Stateâ€™s Atty. Joell Zahr said. He tried to force the girl into a sex act, but she resisted and was able to get out of the car.
As she stood outside the car trying to call for a ride home, the girl saw Jones engaged in a sex act with the other girl, Zahr said.
After Jones drove the one girl home, she told her mother about the incident a few days later, the prosecutor said. The girl who had escaped the car also reported the incident to a teacher at school and a friend, according to Zahr.
Jonesâ€™ attorney, Jeff Granich, said that in addition to coaching basketball at Epic, Jones was employed as a gym teacher at LEARN charter school in the 1700 block of West 83rd Street. He is married with two young children, serves as a deacon at his church and has no prior convictions, Granich said.
â€œAt this point, we are shocked about these allegations, and we look forward to going to trial and clearing his name,â€ Granich said after court.
Judge Edward Harmening set bond at $500,000 and ordered Jones to have no contact with any children except his own if he is released from custody. Jonesâ€™ employment at Epic ended on Jan. 17, said Cindy Hansen, an attorney representing the school. She could not say whether he was fired or left on his own.