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Zion elementary school principal placed on leave after being charged with sexual assault

Beulah Park Elementary School in Zion | Photo: Google Street View.

The principal of an elementary school in Zion has been placed on leave after he was charged with sexually assaulting a student almost daily in 2008 at his previous school in Wisconsin.

Curtiss W. Tolefree Jr., 42, of the 2200 block of 38th Avenue in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was charged with three counts of sexual assault of a student by school staff and two counts of exposing genitals to a child, court records show.

The Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint Friday charging Tolefree, who is now the principal of Beulah Park Elementary School, 1910 Gilboa Avenue in Zion.

Tolefree resigned as principal of Washington Middle School in Kenosha in 2018 following allegations of sexual relationships with staff at the school before being hired in Zion.

“Based on the information provided to the District, there is no indication whatsoever that the alleged criminal conduct involves District 6 or its students. Immediately upon learning of the charges, Mr. Tolefree was placed on administrative leave,” Zion School District 6 Superintendent Dr. Keely Roberts said in a statement Monday.

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A criminal complaint stated that Kenosha police launched an investigation in fall 2018 after a woman came forward alleging that she had a sexual relationship with Tolefree while she was 17 years old and attending Bradford High School in Kenosha, according to Kenosha News.

At the time, Tolefree was the dean of students at Bradford and the woman, who is referred to as Jane Doe in the complaint, told police she was often sent to Tolefree’s office because she would get in trouble a lot, Kenosha News reported.

“Jane Doe states that after the first time the defendant had sex with her in his office they had sex just about every day at school during her junior year,” the criminal complaint said, adding that construction paper covered Tolefree’s office door window so that staff could not see in his office.

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The criminal complaint also states that Tolefree met the girl for sexual encounters outside of school at his home, his vehicle and area hotels.

In early 2010, the criminal complaint states that Tolefree became jealous after the woman entered into a relationship with someone else, Kenosha News reported.

Tolefree allegedly told the woman, “she should be focusing on school and should not be getting into a relationship with someone.”

“Jane Doe told the defendant that what the defendant and she had been doing was wrong,” the criminal complaint stated.

Tolefree later transferred to Washington Middle School where he resigned in 2018 as the school district was moving forward with terminating him following allegations that he had sex with school staff inside the building.

He was also accused of “targeting vulnerable female employees,” FOX6 News reported. Tolefree was then hired by Zion School District 6 as principal of Beulah Park Elementary School, despite the allegations at his previous school.

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“We understand that this news is concerning. Please know the safety and security of our students, staff and schools is and will always be our top priority. The District conducts fingerprint-based criminal background checks and cross-referencing of state and national sexual and violent offender registries as a part of our pre-employment process,” Zion School District 6 Superintendent Dr. Keely Roberts said in the statement Monday.

“District 6 stands ready to fully cooperate with law enforcement with respect to this matter, but to date, due to the current information indicating no involvement of District 6 or its students, the District has had minimal involvement in the criminal investigation,” Roberts added.

Tolefree has not been arrested yet and was ordered to appear in court on January 2 for an initial appearance hearing, court records show.


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