Former CPS football coach sexually assaulted student, prosecutors say
Curtis Thomas, 51, is facing criminal sexual assault and child pornography charges. He is also charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse of another victim.
A former Chicago Public Schools football coach has been accused of sexually assaulting one of his players, photographing him nude and posting the photos in the victim’s apartment building and along the route to his school.
The teenage boy was attacked by Curtis Thomas while he was a student at CPS, Cook County prosecutors said in bond court over the weekend.
Thomas worked at the Bronzeville Scholastic Institute High School as a school community representative, according to CPS. He was removed from his position in 2013, terminated in 2014 and placed on the “do not hire” list.
CPS officials wouldn’t confirm whether Thomas was a football coach. But prosecutors said Thomas was one of the coaches on the boy’s football team and initially assaulted the boy after he started playing for the team when he turned 15 in 2010.
Thomas, 51, has been charged with criminal sexual assault and child pornography and aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a second victim.
The first victim met Thomas when he was a 14-year-old freshman. During a practice session, the teenager hurt his tailbone after being tackled and Thomas took him back to the locker room to tend to his injuries. While in the locker room, Thomas allegedly massaged the victim’s “legs, buttocks and back” before pulling the boy’s pants down and assaulting him.
Thomas then took nude pictures of the victim and threatened to show his mother if he told anyone, prosecutors said.
The assaults, which took place from 2010 to February 2013 when the victim turned 17, led to harassment once the boy tried to end the abuse, prosecutors said.
CPS launched an investigation after Thomas was seen pulling the victim out of class and escorting him to an empty classroom where the boy was sexually assaulted. But the victim denied anything inappropriate happened at the time, prosecutors said.
The boy’s mother eventually transferred him to another school and Thomas was told by CPS officials that he was not allowed to have any contact with the teenager. Thomas didn’t listen, prosecutors said.
When the boy’s mother found text messages from Thomas on his phone in February 2013, the teenager opened up to her about the three years of abuse, prosecutors said. The mother and son filed a police report. And when the boy’s mother believed that Thomas was still following him, they filed a stalking report and sought an order of protection.
Then, that May, Thomas was seen posting flyers of the victim with images of him engaging in sex acts and in the nude, prosecutors said. The flyers were posted in the victim’s apartment building and along his walking path to school.
After the flyers were discussed during a court hearing for the order of protection, Thomas approached the boy’s mother and allegedly said, “Wait till you see the next set.”
CPS spokesman James Gherardi said, “Chicago Public Schools is grateful that justice is being pursued against a former employee accused of abuse and the district is fully cooperating and supportive of the legal proceedings. Protecting students is our highest priority and the district has made transformative changes to processes to better respond and prevent instances of abuse.”
The second victim, is a distant relative of Thomas, prosecutors said. That victim was 14 when Thomas is alleged to have sexually abused him after a night out at the movies.
Thomas was ordered held without bail.
Manny Ramos is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of Chicago’s South and West sides.