Prosecutors said Wednesday that the former dean of a Chicago public high school had a sexual relationship with one of his students for years and that he posed as her stepfather twice to sign consent forms so she could get an abortion.
When the alleged crimes began, Brian Crowder, 40, was dean at Greater Lawndale High School for Social Justice, 3120 South Kostner, in Little Village. The victim, now 24, was between 15- and 17-years-old at the time.
In 2013, Crowder began messaging the girl on Snapchat and sent her a video of himself stating, “I want you,” prosecutor Kevin Deboni said. Crowder took the girl to his home “multiple” times, where they kissed.
That summer, Crowder served the girl alcohol at his home and sexually assaulted her for the first time in his bedroom, according to Deboni. They continued to have unprotected sex five or six times a month for two years, he said.
Deboni said the girl became pregnant in 2014 and again in 2015. Crowder allegedly posed as her stepfather and signed permission papers for her to receive abortion services both times.
Deboni said medical records, which included Crowder’s name and signature, are part of the evidence against him. A search warrant for Snapchat messages revealed communications between Crowder and the girl that discussed plans to meet up at his home and indicated that they had a sexual relationship, according to Deboni.
The girl outcried to a school employee during her senior year, and the worker advised her to report the crimes, but she did not because she was afraid her identity might become known. She did, however, end contact with Crowder in the summer of 2015, Deboni said.
Crowder contacted the victim again in 2019, but she did not respond. He then contacted her at work, Deboni continued. The woman outcried to a friend that year and filed a report with Chicago police last year.
Shortly after she filed the report, she allegedly received a text message from Crowder that said, “Goodbye forever.”
Crowder has no criminal background.
His defense attorney said he is currently working with a social service group that helps the homeless find stable residences. He is the single father of two, the attorney said.
Judge Kelly McCarthy ordered Crowder to pay a $7,500 deposit toward bail to get out of jail. He is charged with criminal sexual assault.
CPS said the following letter was distributed by the high school’s principal today:
Dear Social Justice Parents and Guardians,
The safety of your children is always our top priority, which is why we are providing an update on a matter involving a former employee at our school.
In September of 2021, we notified you that Chicago Public Schools was made aware of a serious allegation involving an employee who worked at Social Justice. Upon learning of the allegation, the district immediately launched an investigation and removed the employee from his position. Recently, we learned that this employee, Brian Crowder, has been arrested and faces criminal sexual assault charges. Brian Crowder has not worked at Social Justice since September of 2021 and was terminated by the district in November of 2021.
I know this is difficult news for our entire community, and our counselors, social workers, and psychologists are available for students who need support. At Social Justice, we remain committed to providing our students with a safe, positive learning environment where they can reach their full potential, and I want to take this opportunity to remind you that I am available to discuss steps the district takes to keep students safe and any matters related to your child. You can also contact the Office of Student Protections and Title IX directly at (773) 535-4400.
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