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CPS staffer faces charge she sexually assaulted student nearly a decade ago

New Sullivan Elementary School, 8331 S. Mackinaw Ave. | Google Maps

A Chicago Public Schools teaching assistant is facing accusations that she sexually assaulted a young student at least twice nearly a decade ago.

Ayisha Sims, 37, has been charged with a felony count of criminal sexual assault stemming from allegations that she had sex with the minor when he was a 13-year-old student at New Sullivan Elementary School.

Sims sobbed throughout her bail hearing Friday on the charge, which her attorney, Dena M. Singer, called “ludicrous.”

“This is now 2018 when [the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office] are bringing charges,” Singer said in court. “My client standing before you is presumed innocent — she is innocent.”

Ayisha Sims | Chicago Police
Ayisha Sims | Chicago Police

The assaults allegedly happened between December 2009 and December 2011, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Crone and Chicago police. The boy, who is now 21, was between 13 and 14 years old when he was assaulted.

“Student safety is the district’s top priority and the district removed the employee immediately following her arrest,” CPS spokeswoman Emily Bolton said.

Prosecutors described Sims as a counselor when she worked at the New Sullivan, but Bolton said she worked as a special education teacher’s aide since 2010.

Sims’ son was also a student at the school and had the boy over for a sleepover at Sims’ home, Crone said. During the night while others were asleep, Sims found the boy awake watching TV and took him into her room and they had sex, Crone said.

On a second occasion, the boy and his brothers were helping Sims move into a new home, Crone said. The boy accompanied her to the new home while his brothers stayed at the old home to pack. The boy asked if he could take a shower and, while in the bathroom, Sims came in naked and they had sex, Crone said.

The boy told his brothers about having sex with Sims, Crone said. After the incident described by prosecutors, Sims pulled one of the boy’s brothers out of class and asked the brother if he was telling anyone that she had sex with the boy. The brother told her he hadn’t told anyone, but asked if it was true, prosecutors said.

Crone said Sims admitted having sex with the boy to his brother at that time and told him she didn’t want anyone to know.

Prosecutors did not provide dates or locations for either incident and said the assaults happened until the boy was 14. Crone declined to comment further about the case.

Sims, of the Calumet Heights neighborhood, turned herself in on Tuesday at the Harrison District station, according to a police report.

Singer said in court that allegations against Sims were investigated in 2012 and were “closed.”

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigated a 2012 incident at New Sullivan, but determined it was unfounded, according to agency spokeswoman Alissandra Calderon. Additional details weren’t available because the records were expunged.

Bolton said school officials were alerted to an anonymous tip against Sims made to DCFS in 2015. Both DCFS and a district investigation found the allegations unfounded, Bolton said. CPS is asking the Chicago Office of the Inspector General to review the case.

Judge Sophia Atcherson ordered Sims held on $50,000 bail and to submit to electronic monitoring if she posts $5,000 bond. Sims was also ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim or anyone under 18 as the case moves forward.