Lawsuit: Sheriff’s liaison officer stalked student at Kane County high school
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
A recent high school graduate is suing his former school and the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, saying the sheriff’s liaison officer at the school stalked him during his final two years as a student.
According to the lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, the student was 17 when the officer was assigned to Central High School in Burlington. According to the suit, the resource office maintains an office at the school.
The officer proceeded to sexually groom the student, his lawsuit alleges. From August 2012 into the summer after he graduated in May 2014, the officer showed up at the teen’s baseball games, removed him from class to talk in her office and invited him to her house where he was hugged and “felt up” by her, the suit alleges.
Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Patrick Gengler said Kane County authorities were aware of the lawsuit but declined to comment on pending litigation. The officer named in the suit, Krista Kaus, was still listed as Central High School’s resource officer on the sheriff’s office website on Friday.
The lawsuit accuses Central School District 301 and school administrators of “willful and wanton misconduct” in their supervision of Kaus. Besides the district, several administrators — including the principal, vice principal, dean and a department chair — also are listed as defendants.
In a news release issued Friday, the school district said it “was first made aware of any concerns involving this former student” on April 23, when the student’s attorney sent a draft of their lawsuit along with an offer to settle before it was filed.
“As a precautionary measure,” the district statement says, it asked the sheriff’s department to remove the resource officer from the school assignment, and they did.
“District 301 is committed to protecting and ensuring the safety of our learning community and the well-being of our students. At this point, based on our initial review of the complaint, we believe that claims against District 301 staff are unsubstantiated.”
According to the lawsuit, Kaus made frequent excuses and requests to see the plaintiff at school, and every time she asked to meet with him in her office, the student “felt very uncomfortable and received outrageous amounts of weird looks from administrators, teachers, and students who were in the vicinity.”
The plaintiff alleges the student initially had “viewed her as his mentor” but later became uncomfortable as rumors spread about their relationship. Eventually, he claims, he had to change his cell phone number when she texted him more than 8,000 times in a three-month span after graduation — “and at times texted him hour after hour throughout the day,” according to the suit.
He claims his grades suffered and his health deteriorated from the stress of her constant communications, which at one point forced him to move in with his brother in Chicago to get away, the suit says.
On multiple occasions, school officials saw the officer put her arms around the student in her office, the suit alleges. They told her to stay away from him but “failed to use their authority” to put a stop to her behavior, the suit says.
The suit seeks at least $2 million in damages, plus court costs.
District 301 said it will cooperate in any investigation but was otherwise limited in talking about pending litigation.
Contributing: Mitchell Armentrout