Saturday, June 14, 2008

Two Day Care Teachers Suspended

Two Teachers at a Rogers Park day care center were suspended because they allegedly knew of incidents of child molesting at the center but failed to report them to authorities, a spokesman also said that 32 children enrolled in the facility, the Rogers Park Jewish Community Center, 711 N. Greenview Ave., showed possible symptoms of sexual abuse as determined by a questionnaire filled out by parents.

The developments came a day after it was disclosed that a 19-year veteran janitor at the center, Decortic Parks, 45, of 7930 S. Peoria St., had been charged with taking indecent liberties with a 3-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, police said.

Parks has denied wrongdoing, said Mark Rakoczy, a Cook County assistant state's attorney. The case against Parks at this time is based solely on the accusations of the two children, Rakoczy said.

The two teachers were suspended earlier this week, said Donald Schlosser, the spokesman of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Schlosser would not identify them, but said neither is suspected of having molested any of the children at the center. Parks also has been suspended.

Parks was arrested Monday after the mother of the 4-year-old called the mother of the 3-year-old and both found their children telling similar stories about being abused, Rakoczy said.
The center, which has 67 students ranging in age from toddlers to 5-year-olds, will be open as usual Friday, said Jay Levenberg, assistant director of the Jewish Centers of Chicago, an affiliate of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

But many parents who brought their children to the facility Thursday said their decision was difficult after parents of the allegedly abused children described in a meeting Wednesday night what they said had happened to their children.

At that meeting with DCFS officials, police and center's staff, parents were given a questionnaire intended to aid investigators in determining if additional children had been molested, Schlosser said.

Schlosser said the questions asked among other things, whether the child experienced redness around the genital area, had urinary infections or nightmares or if the child was afraid to be alone with strangers.

Based on the parents' answers, he said 32 children exhibited at least one symptom of possible molestation. Read more here.

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