Woman suing Chicago Heights teacher for alleged sexual abuse speaks out: 'Nothing ever changed'

The woman suing a south suburban teacher, school, and district over alleged sexual abuse two decades ago has spoken out for the first time.

The plaintiff, known as ‘Jane Doe,’ is remaining anonymous, as she did in the civil suit filed in Cook County last week.

"I used to tell myself that I wasn't a victim because it's easier to say you're not a victim than to really understand what happened to you and how it's affected your life," said Jane Doe.

She decided to come forward to prevent similar incidents from happening to others.

The lawsuit accuses Ron Giglio, her former teacher, of grooming and sexually abusing her when she was 16 and turning the relationship into a physical one when she was 17.

"It just became this like constant relationship, you know, in school, outside of school, like via text or AOL Messenger at the time. And, the first time I ever had sex was with him," said Jane Doe.

Giglio, a teacher and softball coach at Bloom Trail High School, is not facing criminal charges but is named in the lawsuit along with the school and the district. 

The district has placed Giglio on administrative leave but declined to comment further on the investigation.

"I just want them to acknowledge that they messed up, that they should have done something," said Jane Doe about the district administrators.

Jane Doe said she did not report the misconduct at the time because Giglio warned her he could lose his job.

However, she alleges that school leaders and other teachers were aware of the misconduct when she was a student.

"And I think what made it worse was that everyone saw me coming in and out of his classroom constantly," she said. "The fact that adults saw that, and there were rumors and nothing ever changed, made it seem like it must be okay."

Jane Doe is represented by Passen & Powell in Chicago, and the firm reports receiving calls from other potential victims. If you think you have a similar story, you’re asked to contact them:

On Thursday, Lia Husack, a former freshman in Giglio’s social studies class, shared her experiences.

"He would take me to his closet to give me popsicles to reward me for being a good student. He would touch my legs and rub my back. When I refused to go into his closet, he would send me to the dean's office," Husack said.

Despite reporting the behavior to the principal, she said no action was taken.

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Bloom Trail HS shaken by sexual abuse allegations: Civil lawsuit filed against coach, teacher

A high school softball coach and teacher is facing allegations of sexual abuse. He's accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a former student.

Husack's mother, Jenafer Sailsbery, echoed her daughter's frustration.

"It's a year later, and nothing has been done. They're trying to make it okay that the lawsuit is from two decades ago when it's still happening. How is that okay?" Sailsbery said.

Jennifer Wein, a former student and softball player, said she quit the team after administrators ignored her report about Giglio.

"The statement that the school released was, ‘we got this lawsuit about something that happened over two decades ago.’ Well, I graduated in 2017 and had an incident. It is, like I said, an open secret," Wein said.

Chris Paicely, from Bloom Township High School District 206, provided a statement: "The district recently received a notice about litigation involving the alleged inappropriate actions of a Bloom Trail High School staff member over two decades ago. We cannot discuss this complaint because it is a personnel and legal matter. The safety of our students is our number one priority, and the listed staff member has been placed on administrative leave while the district conducts a thorough investigation. If any student has concerns about their safety, we strongly encourage them to report those concerns to our Bloom Trail administrative staff immediately."

Giglio has not responded to requests for comment.