* Tribune staff tweets…
* From the Tribune story, written by David Jackson, Gary Marx, Jennifer Smith Richards and Juan Perez Jr...
Marvin Lovett was a trusted mentor to students at Johnson Elementary School. He also was a pedophile.
Lovett used a camera hidden in his apartment closet to make secret pornographic videotapes of students, police and school reports show. He plied boys with cash and gym shoes as he destroyed their childhoods.
Shot to death in April 2000 by a teenage student he abused for five years — since the boy was 12 — Lovett has been accused in lawsuits of sexually abusing at least 19 boys in the North Lawndale community.
It is the largest known case of sexual abuse involving a Chicago Public Schools worker, volunteer or vendor in recent decades, one that led to $2.7 million in legal settlements earlier this year. Yet no one at CPS was ever held accountable for allowing a dangerous sexual predator to volunteer and work in the West Side school.
Now a Tribune investigation has uncovered a 58-page case manager’s report from the CPS inspector general’s office in which four CPS employees told investigators they had raised concerns with the school’s principal, Mattie Tyson, about Lovett’s interactions with boys.
Just… revolting. Go read the whole thing.
Scroll down and you’ll see that a school parent reached out to Paul Vallas, who was then CPS CEO, but he apparently didn’t do anything about it.
* Lori Lightfoot called him out…
Paul Vallas’ response to the horrific case of sexual abuse that occurred under his watch at CPS is entirely disqualifying.
Vallas dismissed then, and continues to dismiss today, the fears and frustrations of parents in the face of appalling acts of abuse by a known pedophile. His campaign’s statement that, if parents were truly concerned, they ‘would have endeavored to do more than simply send faxes’ places the burden on victims and evades responsibility.
I call on Paul Vallas to apologize for his deeply disturbing response to Tribune inquiries. For seven years, Chicagoans have had a mayor who blames victims instead of hearing their concerns, and we can’t afford to elect a new leader made from the same mold. It’s time for new leadership, and it’s time for an elected and representative school board that Chicagoans can hold accountable in moments like these.
*** UPDATE *** Vallas campaign…
The case of Marvin Lovett is a tragic one and an example of how an individual can prey on children in a community while perpetuating the image of someone who was dedicated to improving the health and welfare of that community to the extent he was able to get elected to his Local School Council.
During Paul Vallas’ tenure as head of the Chicago Public Schools, Lovett was not an employee, having resigned the year before Vallas became CEO. It was also not until after Lovett was killed, a year before Vallas left the school system, that there was even any attempt to alert anyone of suspicions about Lovett. That consisted a of single anonymous fax apparently sent to a few individuals at CPS, including the School Board President Gery Chico, as well as Mayor Daley, and reporter Pam Zeckman, none of whom ever recall receiving any communication on this matter.
It is inconceivable that had these faxes - or any other communications - actually reached school officials that immediate follow up actions would not be taken as far lesser allegations prompted swift and decisive actions. This was mandated through the comprehensive system that had been put in place to keep children and faculty safe and secure and to ensure prompt and appropriate intervention when abuse was suspected.
This system included: clear protocols and training on procedures to follow when allegations of child abuse surfaced; a 24/7 hotline for anonymous reporting of potential abuse; creation of an Office of Crisis Intervention to provide support services for abused students in schools as well a multitude of other offices and services specifically designed to protect them.
With all these systems of safeguards and supports in place, had any complaint been actually received, immediate action would have been taken. During Vallas’ tenure there were almost daily interventions and an average of one to two dozen employees and others were removed from schools each year for misconduct. The policy was zero tolerance and student and employee safety first.
Sadly, the realities of child abuse and the furtive ways in which predators carry out their despicable activities means that no system - no matter how well designed - can never guarantee that all abusers will be detected. But there was no stone left unturned by the Vallas administration in making certain that everything possible was being done to keep children safe.