A former Chicago high school gym teacher and softball coach was arrested last week after a woman told police he allegedly impregnated her twice while she was a student at the school.
Jason Hardy, 42, was arrested Thursday and charged with criminal sexual assault, reported the Chicago Tribune.
According to Chicago prosecutors, Hardy allegedly initiated sexual contact with the victim, who was one of his softball players, in 2010 while she was a 17-year-old student at Thornton Township High School, located in a Chicago suburb called Harvey.
Hardy was 33 at the time.
The unidentified woman, who is now 26, told police Hardy got her pregnant twice during their sexual relationship and she had abortions both times.
She also told police she didn’t report him at the time because she feared Hardy’s career would be jeopardized and she would face judgment if others knew she had several abortions as a teen.
The victim decided to come forward when former Thornton student Diamond Randall accused Hardy of inappropriately touching her in school in May 2018.
Randall told the Daily Southtown Hardy allegedly reached under her shirt and caressed her back twice during gym class. In September 2018, Randall’s mother, DeBorah Reeves, posted on Facebook prompting others to come forward.
After the incident, Reeves removed her daughter from Thornton and filed a report with Harvey police. Hardy was charged with misdemeanor battery on Sept. 8, according to the Tribune.
The mother said in addition to her daughter, a number of former Thornton students contacted her about Hardy’s alleged inappropriate behavior.
Another woman who spoke to WGN News said she was a 16-year-old student when Hardy touched her genitals through her swimsuit. Although she never reported the incident, she said she never went back to his class.
After Hardy’s latest arrest, District 205 officials released a statement saying they were “shocked and saddened” by the allegations.
“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,” the statement reads. “We at Thornton Township High Schools District 205 take the health, safety, and personal welfare of our students and their families extremely seriously.”
On May 17, Hardy appeared in court on the battery charges. His bail was set at $50,000.
After the court appearance, Hardy’s attorney, Russell Brown, said the allegations appear to be false.
“The investigation is still ongoing,” Brown told WGN-TV. “We obviously just found out about the allegations this afternoon in court. However, based on my conversations with Mr. Hardy, they’re completely fabricated.”
Hardy will appear in court for the criminal sexual assault charges on June 7.