Two federal lawsuits were filed Friday alleging that a male teacher and a female teacher at Lake Forest High School groomed and sexually abused at least seven now-former students.
Chicago-based law firm Goldberg and Goldberg filed one of the suits on behalf of six former students against David Miller, a full-time teacher who worked at Lake Forest High School from 1966 to 2009.
Goldberg and Goldberg also filed a second suit on behalf of a former female student against Cynthia Martin, who used to work at Lake Forest High School as a teacher and coach.
Both suits allege that Martin and Miller groomed and sexually abused the students and that the school knew about it but did not take action.
The first lawsuit says that the six students had Miller as a teacher and that he “typically targeted LFHS students enduring and experiencing difficulty at home, including the death of friends or family, divorce, and those having difficulty socializing with their classmates.”
It alleges that Miller groomed and sexually abused male students consistently for nearly 35 years starting in the 1980s.
Lawyers said in the lawsuit that Miller used his home and the provision of alcohol to groom students, progressing with inappropriate physical contact including hugs, back rubs, roughhousing, kissing, fondling and oral sex.
Miller was charged in 1991 with misdemeanor battery of a student and the high school administration was notified.
Miller resigned in 2009 after he was accused of making inappropriate comments to a male student in an online chatroom. District 115 allowed him to resign without reporting or making public the allegation, the lawsuit said.
Lawyers say that District 115 had knowledge of Miller’s “long history of inappropriate comments and sexual battery of male students” but continued to publicly celebrate him to the community.
The second lawsuit filed by Goldberg and Goldberg against Martin alleges that she targeted the plaintiff, identified as “Sharon M.,” as the girl was experiencing difficulty at home due to the death of family in the late 1980s.
Martin allegedly groomed and sexually abused juvenile female students, including Sharon.
The lawsuit says that Martin provided alcohol and illegal drugs to Sharon and other students. It progressed to inappropriate physical contact including hugs, back rubs, roughhousing, kissing, fondling, and oral and sexual intercourse.
Lawyers say that District 115 failed to take action against Martin despite knowledge of the allegations.
Both lawsuits filed against the two former teachers have demanded a jury trial and are seeking unspecified compensation from the defendants and Lake Forest Community High School District 115.