Suburban cheer coach under investigation for sexual misconduct with students

DES PLAINES, Ill. — The head varsity cheerleading coach at Maine West High School has been placed on administrative leave amid sexual harassment allegations.

The coach is accused of sending "disturbing messages" to students, according to complaints lodged through the school district's website, officials said. The initial complaint was filed April 15.

One former Maine West cheerleader and student told WGN News the coach sent her explicit texts and Snapchat messages saying he wanted to have sex with her. The girl was 15 and a sophomore at the time. She also said the coach touched her inappropriately during cheer practice.

"He would ask me to stay after practice so he could stretch me," said the former student, who is now in college and asked not to be named. "He warned me that [the stretches] might be a little sexual, but it would help me become a better flyer."

The student quit the team.

The coach was recently promoted to the head coach position, but has worked with the team for several years.

The Des Plaines Police Department is investigating. Detectives are interviewing as many as 40 current or former cheerleaders.