Former high school student alleges sexual battery

By Dan Harkins | Jun 10, 2015

Richard J. Schroeder  

A young woman is suing her school district, alleging sexual battery by one of her instructors when she was still a minor.

Carley Pelaez filed a lawsuit May 11 in Cook County Circuit Court against the Board of Education of the city of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, Charles Allen Prosser Career Academy High School and Scott Gallus, an HVAC teacher at the school, alleging battery and other charges.

The suit says Gallus engaged in several acts of sexual innuendo and non-consensual physical contact with the then-16-year-old girl during the 2012-13 school year, like "hugging her, placing his arm and hands around her waist, buying her gifts, buying her food, and excusing her from other classes to hang out with him." The suit alleges Gallus also made several unwanated comments about her appearance and offered her alcohol in several occasions.

According to the complaint, on June 5, 2013, Gallus was taking the plaintiff to an HVAC job when he said it had been canceled and took her to eat at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba instead, where he served her multiple glasses of sangria. Although she was openly fearful about his attempts to kiss her, he pulled over on the way to dropping her off and tried to kiss her again, touching her legs and neck, the lawsuit states.

Gallus "fondled her breasts, pulled down her pants and performed oral sex and digital penetration on [her] vagina," while she allegedly was crying and begging him to stop, the suit states. In August 2013, Pelaez  told her mother after Gallus continued to text her and profess his love for her, according to the suit.

Shortly after the incidents were reported to school officials, Gallus offered the family money in exchange for their silence, the suit says. On Sept. 26, 2013, he was arrested and, shortly after, the school board took action to terminate him, according to the suit. Felony charges are currently pending.

As a result of the defendants' inaction and lack of supervision, the suit says the plaintiff suffered "fear, humiliation, indignity, mental anguish, confusion, embarrassed, emotional and physical distress, post-traumatic stress, depression, extreme sadness and other injuries and resulting damages."

The plaintiff cites battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and willful and wanton retention, failure to report and failure to supervise.

Pelaez seeks damages in excess of the court's jurisdictional limits, plus costs. She is represented by attorney Richard J. Schroeder of Tarpey, Jones & Schroeder in Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court case number 2015L004826.

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