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Afternoon Edition: Nov. 9, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

“Seeing the people that have abused you, whether that is emotionally or spiritually, or an abuse of power, be held accountable does feel like closure,” Anna Heyward said. “So I want to fight for that.”
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

The good weather continues despite it being November: This afternoon will be sunny and breezy, with a high near 75 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 65 degrees. Tomorrow will see a high near 73 degrees, with showers and thunderstorms in the forecast ahead of a major cool down.

Top story

Moody Bible Institute rocked by allegations it mishandled sex misconduct claims; one leader resigns, another on leave

As Moody Bible Institute launches an investigation into accusations the school mishandled claims of sexual misconduct, one administrator abruptly retired last week and another was placed on leave by the religious college on the Near North Side.

Longtime dean of students Timothy Arens retired Nov. 1, and Title IX coordinator and assistant dean of student life Rachel Puente was put on administrative leave, effective immediately, a spokesperson for the school confirmed to us in an email.

Arens and Puente have been accused of mishandling complaints by current and former students in an online petition that has garnered more than 3,100 signatures since it was created last month.

Arens, an employee at Moody since 1984, had previously planned to retire next June. Puente, who’s been at Moody since 2007, had initially been moved out of her position as Title IX coordinator but remained on campus. Moody said the two weren’t available for interviews, and neither could be reached for comment.

These changes come as at least 11 current and former Moody students have claimed in an open letter to Moody Bible President Mark Jobe they were victims of sexual misconduct or emotional abuse. Some said the two administrators did not inform victims of their rights and in some cases discouraged them from filing complaints under Title IX, the federal civil rights law, which could trigger investigations of the allegations.

Moody Bible, which has roots in Chicago that date back to the 19th century, refers to itself as “the world’s most influential bible school” with high moral standards.

Anna Heyward, of Chicago, said she was excited to join the community when she was accepted at the school in fall 2014.

But in 2017, she said she was pressured into drinking alcohol on her 21st birthday by someone she was in a relationship with. She said she blacked out and then was subjected to non-consensual sexual activities.

After the relationship ended, Heyward met with Arens about her experience, but rather than explaining her rights to her, Arens allegedly didn’t encourage her to file a Title IX complaint, Heyward and a source familiar with the situation said. He also discouraged her from going public with her allegations, the two said.

She was placed on probation for her final semester and a half for breaking school rules forbidding students from drinking alcohol and engaging in premarital sexual activities, Heyward and the source said. She was allegedly told not to date any other male students or hang out with them one-on-one.

Heyward said she nevertheless met with Puente after her meeting with Arens but was still not encouraged to file a report, she said. She didn’t.

“I began to feel a lot of shame and didn’t feel as though it would be right of me to pursue any legal action,” Heyward recalled.

The story doesn’t end here. Read Madeline Kenney’s full report.

More news you need

  1. Six people were killed and 37 others were injured in shootings across Chicago over the weekend. Four teenagers were among the victims.
  2. State health officials announced 10,573 new coronavirus cases today, marking the fourth consecutive day Illinois has recorded a five-figure caseload. The Illinois Department of Public Health also reported 14 coronavirus-related deaths.
  3. As Chicago Public Schools prepares a gradual return to the classroom for some students, a majority of city residents say CPS should hold off until the coronavirus is under control, a Chicago Teachers Union survey has found. 72% of 500 “likely 2023 municipal voters” agreed that public schools should not reopen for in-person learning, while 22% disagreed.
  4. President-elect Joe Biden today unveiled members of his coronavirus task force charged with developing his administration’s pandemic response. He also implored Americans, again, to wear their masks. These are the Chicago-area Democrats in play for spots in Biden’s transition, and for administration appointments.
  5. The Chicago Police Department has launched an internal campaign to encourage officers to wear face coverings as the area grapples with a surge in coronavirus cases. The department has recorded 1,222 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including three deaths, among its 13,000 employees.

A bright one

Christmas starts early as Chicago families receive food, protective equipment

The weather may have been in the 70s, but Christmas began early for some Chicago families on Friday.

Christmas in the Wards — which provides gifts to families in need — teamed up with aldermen, local organizations and others for a “Day of Giving” to provide Chicago families with food, personal protective equipment and other necessities.

Larry Huggins, chairman of Christmas in the Wards, said the South Side group has held the annual distribution event for 24 years. Friday, items were given away in two locations — a Soldier Field parking lot and the Universal Entertainment Center at 119th and Loomis streets. At both locations, people sat in their cars and picked up food boxes that included frozen meats, dairy and fresh produce. They also received bags filled with reusable face masks, hand sanitizers and socks.

Shasta Grossett was among those who benefited from Christmas in the Wards’ “Day of Giving” at Soldier Field.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

For people like 32-year-old Shasta Grossett, this all came at exactly the right time. Grossett, who lives in a Chicago Housing Authority building in Bronzeville, said she worked as a dialysis technician before she had to take time off due to a health condition. Three months later, her husband also couldn’t work because of a COVID-19 outbreak at his job.

“So in total, we’ve lost about six months of income,” Grossett said. “So this is really, really helpful.”

There were also those who picked up food for others, such as South Side resident Debra Rogers, who works as a caregiver: “I’m blessed more than some, so I like to be a blessing to others.”

Read Michael Lee’s full story here.

From the press box

Bears running back David Montgomery suffered a concussion in the team’s loss to the Titans yesterday. If he’s not cleared in time for next Monday night’s game against Minnesota, former Pro Bowl back Lamar Miller could be promoted from the practice squad.

And while the team’s personnel issues won’t go away, the Bears have one obvious option to shake up their moribund offense: Let someone else other than Matt Nagy call the plays, Patrick Finley writes.

Your daily question ☕

How do you plan on celebrating Thanksgiving this year amid the pandemic?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Friday, we asked you: What have you been doing to manage your stress this week with the election AND the pandemic going on? Here’s what some of you said…

“I haven’t managed it too well, to be honest.” — Kelly Naughton

“I have eaten a pound of Halloween candy.” — Elizabeth McBride

“Raking leaves.” — Louise Lybarger

“Smoking weed.” — Mark S. Pounovich

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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