$200K bond for Thornwood High teacher accused of sexually abusing student

A 44-year-old teacher at Thornwood High School in South Holland is in custody after allegedly sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl.

- A south suburban high school teacher was ordered held on a $200,000 bond Wednesday after being accused of sexually abusing a former student after offering the girl a ride home from her job last month.

Jesus Sanchez, of Orland Park, is charged with one count of felony aggravated criminal sexual abuse, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Sanchez, 44, teaches in the foreign language department at Thornwood High School in South Holland, according to prosecutors and the school’s website.

Prosecutors claim that on July 1, Sanchez stopped at a restaurant to buy food for two male students who had done landscaping work at his house earlier that day, which is a violation of school policy.

The boys stayed in the car while the defendant went into the restaurant, where the 17-year-old girl worked, according to prosecutors, who said she was a former student of Sanchez.

While inside, Sanchez offered her a ride home from work. Prosecutors said she was hesitant to accept, but knew she had missed her bus and did not want to travel home in the dark.

Sanchez assured her two other students would be in the car, and the girl got in, prosecutors said. He dropped off the two other students and parked the car in front of the girl’s house in Dolton.

At that point, Sanchez asked the teen if she wanted him to drive to a darker parking space further away, prosecutors said. She said no, but he drove down the street, stopped the car and locked the doors.

Sanchez then repeatedly fondled and sexually abused the victim in the car, ignoring her pleas for him to stop, prosecutors and police claim. Afterward, he drove her home, where she immediately told someone what happened and reported it to police.

As of Wednesday, Sanchez was still employed with the high school, according to Jerry Doss, director of human resources and community relations for Thornton Township High School District 205.

“We are aware of the arrest of Mr. Sanchez, and we are monitoring it closely,” Doss said, adding district officials have been in close contact with Dolton police, who are investigating the case. “The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority.”

Sanchez was ordered held on a $200,000 bond at a hearing Wednesday, according to the state’s attorney’s office.

Judge Darren Bowden also ordered that Sanchez have no contact with the victim, the two male students involved or any person under the age of 18, officials said. He will next appear in court Aug. 25 in Markham for a preliminary hearing.

Jerry B. Doss, who's the Director of Human Resources and Community Relations for Thornton Township High Schools District 205, told FOX 32 the following:

"All information regarding the arrest of Jesus Sanchez is being coordinated by the Dolton Police Department. At this time  Thornton Township High School District 205 is aware of Mr. Sanchez's arrest and we will monitor the situation closely.  The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority and we will review our options as this matter unfolds."

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