A popular and award-winning Chicago teacher was recently accused of molesting at least two male students in Ohio more than 30 years ago. Harold “Jerry” Mash reportedly resigned from his teaching position and left Ohio after he was convicted of misdemeanor abuse of a student in the Toledo area in 1976. Before he left Ohio, Mash was given a suspended sentence of six months on the abuse charge in a Wood County juvenile court. According to a former school board member, David Weaks, the abuse allegation against Mash involved allegations of sexual abuse.
In early November 2012, Mash was removed from his position at Foreman High School in Chicago. Both Illinois Teacher Certification Officials and Chicago Public Schools have allegedly begun an inquiry into the 68-year-old teacher’s past. Mash, who has taught in Illinois for the last 22 years, has reportedly denied all allegations of abuse. An Ohio Department of Education spokesperson, John Charlton, stated Mash obtained another license to teach in the State of Ohio in 1987. He also said there is nothing to indicate that Mash committed abuse in Ohio in the man’s departmental file. Despite that Illinois began performing background checks on teachers five years before Mash moved to the state, the Ohio abuse allegations were not discovered by Illinois officials.
According to a civil lawsuit filed in Ohio, Mash used positions of authority such as high school teacher, coach, and Boy Scout Leader to influence and sexually assault teenage boys. The lawsuit also alleges that Mash sought such positions in order to gain access to children he could then abuse and exploit. The lawsuit seeks damages of more than $25,000. After learning Mash was employed by one of the largest school districts in the nation, the plaintiffs reportedly opted to file the case in an effort to warn other potential victims. Although criminal charges over the alleged 1970s sexual abuse may no longer be filed against Mash due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, the plaintiffs allegedly hope more recent victims may have the ability to seek justice in a criminal court against the Chicago Public Schools employee. In addition, since the claims of abuse allegedly occurred at Foreman High School in Chicago, civil suits could be brought against the Chicago Public Schools.
Too often, the victims of childhood sexual abuse do not come forward immediately due to fear or embarrassment. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for sexual abuse of a minor is now longer than for other personal injury cases. Since 2011, children who were sexually abused have until their 38th birthday to file an injury lawsuit against their abuser. Additionally, a victim who has repressed any memories of the abuse has 20 years from the date they realized they were abused to file a lawsuit. Children who were sexually abused prior to this time may face a shorter statute of limitations. If you were sexually abused as a child, you should contact a qualified personal injury attorney to discuss your case.
If you were the victim of sexual abuse by a teacher, neighbor, priest, or other adult, contact the hardworking attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today. Our skilled Chicago area sexual abuse and assault lawyers are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week to help you file your personal injury case. For a free consultation with an experienced and committed personal injury attorney, please call Abels & Annes, P.C. at (312) 475-9596 or contact us through our website.
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