Former suburban coach appears in court charged with sexual assault

MARKHAM, Ill. — Bail was set at $50,000 for a former coach at a suburban high school charged with criminal sexual assault.

Jason Hardy, 42, a former gym teacher and softball coach at Thornton Township High School in Harvey, appeared in a Markham courtroom Friday.

Allegations against Hardy surfaced after a former Thornton student, Diamond Randall, came forward and said he touched her inappropriately in school last year. He was later charged with misdemeanor battery in that case.

Randall’s mother, DeBorah Reeves, posted on Facebook prompting others to come forward.

Among those who did was a 26-year-old who said she was in a sexual relationship with Hardy starting when she was 17 and a junior at Thornton. She told WGN News she became pregnant twice and both times he took her to get abortions.

After hearing Randall’s story, she said she felt that she had to talk about what happened. That led to the sexual assault charge.

A woman who spoke to WGN News said she was 16 and a student when Hardy started with subtle comments and unwanted touching that made her uncomfortable. After he touched her through her swimsuit, she said she never went back to his class — but he still gave her an A.

After court, Hardy’s attorney Russell Brown said Hardy has had a decorated career and is troubled by the allegations.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” Brown said. “We obviously just found out about the allegations this afternoon in court. However, based on my conversations with Mr. Hardy, they’re completely fabricated.”

In a statement, the school district said:

"Mr. Hardy resigned from TTHS-D 205, in December 2018. We are shocked and saddened by the investigation and arrest of one of our former teachers, Mr. Jason Hardy. The Thornton Township High Schools District 205, Board of Education Members and administrations goal is to continue to move forward to ensure the safety of our students and to make sure that law enforcement has everything they need from us for their investigation. We at Thornton Township High Schools District 205 take the health, safety, and personal welfare of our students and their families extremely seriously. As this is an ongoing investigation involving a former Thornton High Schools District 205 student, we will not be able to comment further about the case or the parties involved."

 Hardy posted 10 percent of bail and was released. The judge ordered Hardy not to have any contact with the victim or anyone under the age of 18. He’s due back in court June 7.

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