CHICAGO -- Parents and students shared stories of a man they say had a history of inappropriate acts towards female students during a community meeting Saturday, after the CPS coach was arrested and charged this week for allegedly groping a student.
37-year-old volleyball coach Casino Cruz is accused of groping a student while working at the Roberto Clemente Community Academy. He was subsequently arrested, charged with misdemeanor battery, and later suspended. As concerned parents met to discuss the serious allegations and swap stories Saturday, they suggested there may be more victims.
Vanessa Massas, who has a daughter at Clemente, organized the meeting after a freshman accused Cruz of touching her inappropriately while she was on her way to class. Massas said Cruz touched her daughter inappropriately, too.
"Not too long ago, my daughter had an incident with him where she felt very uncomfortable with the way he was touching her,” Massas said.
Another concerned parent said she will not allow her daughter to be on the volleyball team because of Cruz. And students at the school allege they witnessed the coach's sexually aggressive behavior in the hallways as well.
“There’s times when he can just be an uncomfortable person,” said sophomore Izaiah Cedeno. "I’ve seen how he’s touchy with females, you know what Ibeing ’m saying?”
Cruz was arrested at the high school on Tuesday afternoon and suspended by CPS. But parents say that punishment doesn’t go far enough. The came together to collect all of the accusations against Cruz so they can bring them to school administrators and law enforcement.
CPS says Cruz has been suspended while the investigation is taking place, and the district will not hesitate to impose harsher discipline if the allegations are proven in court. Cruz will appear before a judge in February.