Student of former suburban coach said she too was touched inappropriately and school did not react

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HARVEY, Ill. — Another allegation of inappropriate touching is surfacing against a former suburban high school gym teacher and softball coach.

A 2017 graduate of Thornton Township High School tells WGN-TV she was on an exercise bike when Jason Hardy touched her inner thigh. She did not want to be identified.

“He touched my inner thigh and I’m like ok you don’t need to touch me like that and I got upset,” she said. “Then, I got up and he grabbed me by my arm and said ‘Hey, if you leave then I’m going to have to drop your grade.’” She says she reported the incident to a guidance counselor and asked to be moved out of Hardy’s class. She says the counselor told her to write down what happened, but nothing was done about it.

That was in 2016.

Two years later, another student, Diamond Randall, spoke out saying Hardy touched her inappropriately. She reported it to a dean, and nothing was done about it until months later when her mother, DeBorah Reeves, went directly to Harvey Police. Hardy was charged with misdemeanor battery in that case. Randall and Reeves wanted to be identified to encourage others after Reeves’ posts on Facebook prompted more young women to come forward. Among them is a woman who says she was in a sexual relationship with Hardy starting in 2010 when she was 17 and he was 33. She told us she became pregnant twice and both times she says he took her to get abortions. Hardy is now charged with criminal sexual assault in that case.

Responding to a FOIA request from WGN-TV, the school district released charges of misconduct against Hardy accusing him of having sex with the student on the high school campus, at her home and his home. The documents say Hardy fraudulently posed as one of her family members to assist her in obtaining one of the abortions.

After he was notified he would be recommended for termination, Hardy handed in his resignation letter in February 2019. A district statement previously said he resigned in December.

A district spokesperson refused to comment beyond the statement they released last month that read, “We are shocked and saddened by the investigation and arrest of one of our former teachers…We at Thornton Township High Schools District 205 take the health, safety, and personal welfare of our students and their families extremely seriously.”

If they have it, the school district did not release any record of the written statement the 2017 graduate told us she gave her counselor.

“I don’t believe they’re shocked about it. I think they’re shocked that it got out,” the former student said. “I graduated in 2017.  I reported it in 2016.  If they had done something when I told them I’m uncomfortable that I’ve been touched before by him, then nobody after me would’ve been touched.”


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