Saturday, June 14, 2008

Spooky Forrest

Some staff members of the Rogers Park Jewish Community Center day-care center who have been implicated in sexually abusing children at the center are still on the job, two mothers of alleged victims charged.

Their children said teachers at the center had organized class games where both they are the children were unclothed and the teachers hit the children on their heads hard enough to hurt, the mother told The Lerner Newspapers Tuesday, May 22.

The women, who asked not to be identified said they are outraged that the staff members have not been suspended and that the center has not been closed. The parents said they suspect the abuse had been going on for a long time.

The children have told their stories to the police and to the Cook County assistant state's attorneys.

May 21 an assistant Illinois attorney general said the center may continue to operate because it has cooperated with the investigation and complied with licensing procedures.

William Sullivan, assistant attorney general and attorney for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, said the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago have suspended all staff members against whom sufficient evidence was found. "The fact that somebody made an allegation does not mean there was a basis for it.", he said.

The parents said their children told them of the following incidents:
In one came, called "Spooky Forrest," one teacher pretended to be a bear and the other a wolf. They growled at the children and the children ran from them. When the children were caught, the teacher's would beat them on the head, a mother said.

In Another class game, called "Punchinello," the children were instructed to hit each other. The parents said their two 4-year-old daughters told their stories independently.

When one mother confronted a teacher about her daughter's version of "Punchinello," the teacher "turned white and never answered me,' the mother said.

Two mothers said their daughters did not tell them sooner about their experiences because they had been threatened.

One girl told her mother that if she talked, she would be cut into pieces in thrown in the garbage can. The children also were told that their parents would be killed if they told them, the mother said.

Some children reported being beaten, having needles stuck into their feet, being hurt with screwdrivers and being held by the ankles and turned head-first into garbage cans.

One mother now, attributes mysterious scratches that appeared on her daughters feet in the winter, when she always wore shoes to needles. Bruises on the child's lower calves substantiated her story about being held upside-down by the ankles, her mother said. Read more here.

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