Substitute teacher charged with sexual behavior in North Side elementary school classroom

James Ruml | CPD

A Chicago Public Schools substitute teacher was charged with sexual exploitation of a child Saturday after three of his students allegedly accused him of exhibiting sexual behavior in their North Side elementary school classroom.

The allegations were made against James Ruml, 29, by three 11-year-old students in a writing class that he subbed for on November 16, Assistant State’s Attorney Anthony Garcia said. A CPD report said the allegations were filed at Walt Disney Magnet School, 4140 North Marine Drive, in Uptown.

Ruml introduced himself to the students and then stiffly walked around the room, Garcia said. One of the students reported that Ruml’s pants “were poking from his genital area,” according to Garcia.

He then allegedly sat behind a table in the classroom, leaned back with his legs stretched widely, and began touching his private areas while the students were present.

Garcia said all of the students saw Ruml performing “stroking movement” under the table while leaning his head back, moaning and laughing. Ruml, who remained clothed during the incident, stopped occasionally, looked around, then continued touching himself, according to the allegations.

One of the students reported that Ruml stood up and touched himself in a corner, Garcia said during Ruml’s bail hearing on Saturday.

School officials contacted police after the students outcried to a teacher on November 18, Garcia said.

Investigators interviewed the three students in December and police arrested Ruml on Thursday.

During Saturday’s hearing, Joseph Cavanaugh, a private defense attorney representing Ruml, said he has no criminal history and has worked for CPS for about three years without any other allegations. Ruml denies the allegations, Cavanaugh said.

Prosecutors asked Judge Kelly McCarthy to order Ruml to stay away from anyone under 18, but McCarthy rejected their request.

She set bail at $70,000. Ruml must post 10% of that to get out of jail before trial.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is