Published On: Wed, Sep 18th, 2019

Senn High School theater teacher Joel Ewing charged with sexually assaulting a female, teen student

A Chicago Public School theater teacher, Joel Ewing, has been charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old student, who is now a 21-year-old woman.

Ewing, 40, faces a criminal sexual assault charge according to Cook County prosecutors on Tuesday, who also told Judge Arthur Wesley Willis that Ewing could end up facing multiple felonies.

Joel Ewing sexual abuse

Joel Ewing

Prosecutors detailed that the “relationship” started when the woman was in eighth grade, auditioning to study in a theater pilot program at Senn High School, 5900 N. Glenwood Ave.

At the time, Ewing was about 32, prosecutors said.

Ewing began communicating with the girl often – including texting that went on all hours of the night that were of a romantic nature and had nothing to do with school.

Officials detailed that she and Ewing ate lunch alone together on a daily basis during her junior year in high school.

Ewing met the defendant in hidden rooms in the school where he would grope and touch her inappropriately, prosecutors said. This happened at least ten times.

In January 2015, when the victim was 17 and a junior, she and Ewing traveled to an acting festival in downstate Normal for four of five days.  They stayed in a hotel, and Ewing asked the victim to come to his room where they took off their clothes and lay together in bed.

This led into the pair meeting in locker rooms, performing sexual acts on one another. The student also went to Ewing’s house multiple times starting during her junior year and always left before Ewing’s wife got home

She graduated in 2016 and stopped seeing Ewing by the spring of 2017, when she was a 19-year-old college freshman. During a subsequent therapy session the unnamed woman confessed the abuse, which prompted mandatory reporting to authorities.

The victim herself made a police report in July of this year, and was upset that Ewing still works with young people as a theater director.

Ewing was arrested on Monday, and admitted to the sex acts with the victim on Senn property.

Senn principal Mary Beck, in a letter to parents, said administrators were made aware of the allegations against Ewing on July 26 and that he was removed from his position.

“I know this is difficult news for our entire community, and our counselors, social workers, and psychologists are available for students who need support,” Beck wrote. “At Senn, we remain committed to providing our students with a safe, positive learning environment where they can reach their full potential.”

A lawyer for Ewing noted the defendant’s lack of criminal history, adding Ewing has been married for 14 years and has a young child.

Willis set Ewing’s bail at $150,000.






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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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