Suit: School officials were “indifferent” to abuse claims against ex-teacher

SHARE Suit: School officials were “indifferent” to abuse claims against ex-teacher

One victim of a former Bremen High School substitute teacher who fondled a student and sent sexually suggestive text messages to others is suing the school district, claiming officials were “indifferent” when she originally notified them of the abuse.

Ross Larson, 29, had been a subsitute physical education teacher and freshman boys basketball coach for a little less than a year when he was accused of the abuse that started in the winter of 2010, school officials and police said at the time.

He fondled a girl in gym class and tried to set up meetings with two others for sex, prosecutors said at the time. The three victims were 16, 17 and 18 years old at the time.

Larson, of the 800 block of Western Avenue in New Lenox, was originally charged in January 2011 with aggravated criminal sexual abuse and indecent solicitation of a child, authorities said. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges and was forced to register as a sex offender for life in September 2013, according to court records.

Bremen High School District 226 Superintendent Bill Kendall, who is named as a defendant in the suit along with Larson and the school district, said at the time that school staff became aware of the alleged inappropriate contact between Larson and three female students and contacted police. Larson was relieved of his coaching duties and dismissed.

One of the victims filed a lawsuit anonymously in Cook County Circuit Court on Thursday, claiming that school officials originally were “indifferent” to her allegations that Larson touched her inappropriately and sent her sexually harassing Facebook and text messages.

After Larson was arrested, Kendall and other officials held a meeting with the girl but “did virtually nothing to help [her] through her ordeal,” the suit says.

After the arrest, the girl “experienced relentless bullying” from other students, and when she reported it to Kendall and other school officials, they allegedly suggested she transfer schools or “let it go,” the suit claims.

School district officials could not immediately be reached for comment on the suit Thursday evening.

The nine-count suit seeks at least $450,000 in punitive and compensatory damages plus court costs.

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