There has been a major focus ridiculing the plethora of issues with public education in America in recent years. One of the biggest concerns on many parents’ plates is the rate at which educators are perpetrating sex crimes against young students. No industry is immune from these heinous acts, but when it happens in a field where authoritative figures are tasked with protecting children, it’s even more disturbing. Adding to the growing list of horrific crimes in education, a Chicago teacher was recently sentenced to spend what will most likely be the rest of his life in jail after he was found guilty of molesting a young boy.
According to reports from The Chicago Tribune, Pedro Ibarra, who was a Chicago teacher in an elementary school up until June of 2021, was sentenced in a U.S. District Court to spend the next 50 years in jail for sexual exploitation of a child. It is now known that the 48-year-old educator had sexually assaulted and harassed a slew of young children. What’s worse, he was arrested for similar charges a few years ago, which ultimately resulted in him getting off of charges, and continuing on in his role working with children.
The Chicago teacher was employed as a dual-language teacher at Alessandro Volta Elementary School from 2016-2021 where he worked with third-grade students. A little more than a year ago, Ibarra began communicating in an online chatroom with an at the time a 12-year-old boy who lived in Indiana. The educator drove across state lines to pick up the child and bring him to a nearby hotel room, where he performed and recorded lude sexual acts on the boy.
After discovering video evidence of the act, authorities also uncovered additional footage on the Chicago teacher’s phone depicting him performing explicit sexual content with another victim, who police later identified as being a 15-year-old child. After these two crimes were discovered, the Chicago Public Schools district suspended Ibarra, eventually terminating his employment. However, the situation appears to be more sinister, as authorities, and possibly the school, were aware of similar harassment allegations by young students stemming from 2019.
In April 2019, the Chicago teacher was arrested following allegations that he had inappropriately groped a 9-year-old female student at the school he taught in. Afterward, both the girl’s other brother and a group of his friends also admitted that Ibarra had touched them inappropriately. During the forensic interview, the young student reported that after she told her mom that Ibarra had grabbed her buttocks the parent discussed the accusations with the school principal. In the end, a judge found the 48-year-old not guilty of the charges brought against him.
Now that it has been proven that the Chicago teacher sexually abused multiple minor children, the fact that the 2019 accusations against him were so quickly diminished resonates with a major problem in both the judicial and educational system. At the school level, many schools are said to be guilty of a practice known as passing the trash, where school officials will downplay sexual misconduct allegations in order to keep reputation and the matter hush-hush. Unfortunately, cases like this are perpetually growing and are causing more families to lose trust in public education.