Rich East board votes to fire teacher for alleged relationship with student
BY CASEY TONER Sun-Times Media January 16, 2013 1:18AM
School District 227 Board President, Betty Owens, left, and board members Alyssa Hernandez, center and Sheila Friday look over items related to the termination of teacher Earl Rogers during a board meeting at Rich Central High School in Olympia Fields, IL on Tuesday January 15, 2013. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
The Rich Township High School District 227 Board on Tuesday night voted 5-0 to fire a Rich East High School teacher for allegedly having a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old student last summer.
The board voted to dismiss Earl Rogers, 39, a special-education teacher at the school since August 2010. Board member Cheryl Coleman was absent.
Rogers did not attend the meeting at Rich Central High School in Olympia Fields.
Board member Emmanuel Imoukhuede said Rogers’ conduct with his former student was “very unprofessional. . . . It’s disheartening, it’s sickening.”
Rogers, a Rich South High School graduate, was suspended with pay by District 227 officials on Christmas Eve.
Police said his relationship with his former student, now a senior at Rich East, was brought to light after photos of Rogers and the student in a sexually suggestive pose were forwarded to district officials.
Police said no criminal activity took place because the student was 18, and no charges were filed against Rogers.
He’s the second Rich East teacher in two months to be accused of inappropriate contact with a student, and at least the fourth case in District 227 in less than five years involving such behavior by a teacher.
Police detectives spoke with the student on Dec. 21. She was in Rogers’ class last school year, and she told them that she turned 18 in June and stayed in contact with him throughout the summer.
She said she was the victim of a sexual assault in Chicago in July, and Rogers counseled her about it a week later when he picked her up in his car after she visited friends in Chicago, according to police.
Police said she told them that Rogers hugged and kissed her, and they began having sex the next day and had sex 10 times between August and November a hotel in Orland Park, police said.
The student said she and Rogers never had contact at the high school or when she was younger than 18.
On his website, Rogers says he is married and a father of seven children.
On Nov. 20, the District 227 board fired Rich East social studies teacher Rocco Rado after learning he had a sexual relationship with a former student who was 18.
In September, Bryan Craig, a former girls basketball coach at Rich Central, was fired as a guidance counselor for writing a racy self-help book that included crude comments about women and how they could please men sexually. Craig has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the district, claiming wrongful termination.
In April 2010, former Rich South High School teacher Sarah Tolzien pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual abuse after having sex with a 16-year-old Matteson boy twice in November 2008.
The judge placed her on probation for 18 months, and she had to register as a sex offender.