A middle school principal in suburban Lake Forest resigned over the weekend after parents expressed outrage that he kept his job despite being charged in 2009 with misdemeanor harassment charges after sending lewd text messages and a photo of his penis to a 22-year-old college student.
John Steinert, Deer Path Middle School principal, pleaded guilty in 2009 to one count of harassment by electronic communication after he admitted to using a school district cell phone to send vulgar, harassing text messages and photographs of his genitals to a 22-year-old college student after she came into the Lake Forest, Ill. school as part of an internship with the Lake Forest Police Department, the Lake Forester reports.
The harassing texts allegedly continued after the student ignored them and told Steinert to stop. Parents were also calling for an investigation into the behavior of a Lake Forest police officer, who allegedly joined Steinert in his harassment.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
The intern also told Gurnee police that the Lake Forest officer made inappropriate sexual remarks to her during one meeting at the school, "asking her about what kinds of guys she likes, pornography and sex toys. (The victim) advised she became uncomfortable and began talking about something else," the police report said.
At the time, Steinert, who is married, was reprimanded by the school district, told to seek counseling and faced a temporary salary freeze, according to CBS Chicago. He was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge and 80 hours of community service in addition to a $300 fine.
That punishment, district superintendent Harry Griffith told the Chicago Tribune, was based on a heavily redacted police report Gurnee police issued the district in 2009. The report did not include detailed information on the texts and voice mails, many of which were sexually explicit, repeatedly asking if the woman wanted to meet up with him somewhere to have sex.
Outraged parents gathered to slam the suburban Chicago school district over the weekend, demanding that Steinert be fired and that Superintendent Harry Griffith resign, Lake Forest Patch reports. Griffith told the parents that much of the police report had been redacted, and we was unaware of how far Steinert went with the lewd texts.
“We had information that this was about texting between two adults.,” Griffith said. “When we actually saw what the real material was just three days ago, we realized it was more about sexting.”
Parents told Patch they believe the district covered up the incident. Another parent told the board, adding that he was "embarrassed" to have them in his district.