Met with Kennedy High School girl at motel in Lyons
By Steve Metsch
Lyons police have arrested a Willow Springs man and charged him with three counts of criminal sexual assault for his relationship with a female student at Chicago’s Kennedy High School.
The girl was 17 and 18 years old during the sexual assaults, that took place between October and January, Lyons Police Chief Thomas Herion said July 1.
Jose Gamino, 43, of the 8200 block of Rosemere Court in Willow Springs, was suspended from his job as a teacher at Kennedy High School, 6325 W. 56thSt.
The investigation began when Lyons police received a complaint on Feb. 10 from the Chicago police, who were investigating the report “of a high school teacher having inappropriate behavior with a high school student,” Herion said.
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Three trysts took place at a motel in the 7200 block of West Ogden Avenue in Lyons between Oct. 17, 2019, and Jan 31, 2020, according to the police report.
Lyons Police Officer Patricia Francl, whom Herion called “a trained juvenile officer and has handled many sex crimes against juveniles in the past,” investigated the case.
Francl’s investigation led to interviews with four friends of the student, each of whom said she had told them about a sexual relationship with Gamino.
One witness said the student had told her that she “on more than occasion” had slept with Gamino.
Another witness told police that “on Senior Night in November, Gamino had touched her at school and they would ‘do stuff’,” Herion said.
“Gamino would pick her up, and drive her to a hotel in Lyons,” Herion said.
“It was corroborated by multiple students that she had conversations with pertaining to this ongoing relationship,” Herion said.
According to Kennedy High School Principal George Szapiak, after Gamino had been suspended from his job in February, Assistant Principal Sara White on Feb. 13 found in Gamino’s desk handwritten love notes allegedly written by Gamino and the student, Herion said.
The relationship started when she was 17 and continued to when she was 18, all while she was attending high school, Herion said, calling Gamino’s action “a violation of trust.”
“There is social media evidence that corroborates the victim’s story and supports the arrest,” Herion said. “Social media, communication chains, (which) could be direct messaging, text messages between the two.”
Gamino was also charged with one count of misdemeanor battery for touching a Chicago police officer, Herion said.
Gamino turned himself in on June 16 at the Lyons Police Department accompanied by his attorney, Alfredo Acosta.
The long delay between the investigation and eventual arrest was caused by COVID-19, Herion said: “Couldn’t get subpoena. (The) courts were closed.”
He is being held at Cook County Jail on $25,000 bond.
His next scheduled court date is Aug. 5 at the Bridgeview Courthouse.
— Desplaines Valley News
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