Following the revelation last week by the Landmark that Riverside-Brookfield High School teacher Dallas Till had been accused of grooming and having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl when she was a student at Elmwood Park High School from 2004-08, a second woman has accused Till of grooming her while she was a high school student.
During the public comment portion of the Oct. 11 meeting of the District 208 Board of Education, Andrea Crawford said Till “sexually groomed” her a little more than 20 years ago when she was a 16-year-old junior at Morton East High School in Cicero, where Till was a student teacher. Crawford, 37, said she was the student leader of a gym class, where her role was to assist Till.
Till is on paid administrative leave from RBHS after being sued in Cook County Circuit Court in 2021 by a former student at Elmwood Park High School, identified as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, alleging Till had a sexual relationship with her while she was student and a player on Till’s girls basketball team.
The former Morton East student told school board members that “after months of being sexually groomed, including sexually explicit conversations, meeting in private during school, before school and after and on weekends, he also convinced me to meet him for sexual intercourse.
“After we drove and met for sexual intercourse, I had the overwhelming internal sense that I was not safe and therefore I left,” Crawford said.
Shortly after that incident, Crawford said she told her parents about what had happened, and they immediately contacted Morton East. According to Crawford, the then athletic director, Richard Fullriede, interviewed her and Till was quickly removed from the school.
“After the investigation, my parents and I were told by Principal Manuel Isquierdo that the findings were substantiated and that Dallas Till was fired from coaching and student teaching,” Crawford told the D208 school board. “Also, that they notified Elmhurst College of this, and that Dallas Till was barred from completing his degree and that Dallas Till would never be able to teach.”
However, by the next fall Till was teaching at Elmwood Park High School.
Till did not respond to a phone call or a text message from the Landmark asking for his reaction to what Crawford said.
RBHS Superintendent Kevin Skinkis was a dean at Morton East High School in 2002, a fact that Crawford noted in her statement to the school board, though she said she was not implying he knew about her complaint.
“Dr. Skinkis and the board, I implore you to please start an active investigation into Dallas Till during his time here at RB,” Crawford said. “I ask you to please take this seriously and protect your students and the future generation from him. Please do not fail any more children as Morton East failed me and the students after me.”
Skinkis said he had no role in the investigation of Crawford’s allegations against Till at Morton East and had no knowledge of them.
“As a dean of students at Morton East, I was unaware of Ms. Crawford’s allegations involving Mr. Till and had no involvement in any investigation that took place,” Skinkis said in an email. “RB is taking seriously the allegations she has raised.”
Skinkis had no role in hiring Till, who came to RBHS in 2009, two years before Skinkis was appointed superintendent. Skinkis said no current or former RBHS students have contacted the school with any allegations of improper behavior by Till while he has been employed there.
In a telephone interview with the Landmark, Crawford said she only became aware of the lawsuit by the former Elmwood Park student on Oct. 5 when a friend emailed her the Landmark’s story about the case.
Crawford told the Landmark that her experience with Till has made it hard for her to trust and develop good relationships with men.
She said she feels guilty she didn’t go to the police in 2002.
“I still feel that I should have done more, blaming myself because, you know, if that would have stopped right there, he would have never had the chance to do this to Jane Doe, and, God forbid, someone else at RB,” Crawford said.
She said that her only reason for coming to speak at the board meeting was to protect students.
“I want to do anything I can to stop him from being a coach or a teacher,” Crawford said. “I have absolutely no interest in a lawsuit against him. I don’t want anything from him. I just want him to never be able to teach or coach children again.”