Some disturbing allegations are coming out about a Chicago middle school teacher. According to two alleged victims, teacher Cherie Carlson who was then working as a camp director at Camp Awana, sexually abused the women when they were teens, between 1996 and 1997.
Camp Awana, located in Fredonia, Wisconsin, is owned by Chicago’s North Side Gospel Center, and the victims also claim that the church did nothing to stop the abuse. One victim, who prefers to be known under the pseudonym “Jane Doe” has filed a lawsuit against Carlson, accusing the teacher of forced oral sex and penetration.
Now, so far this is only a lawsuit, so I want to stress that nothing has been proven. But the accusations are gut-wrenching. According to Jane Doe:
“It started with holding hands while praying and her hand would touch my leg and move from there. We met at her parent’s house for a movie and she put her hand down the top of my shirt and fondled me.”
Carlson also allegedly wrote the teen love notes and diary entries, saying things like “holding you. Hugging you. Stroking your hair…I long to be with you as much as I can.” This was to a teenaged girl from a grown woman. The victims says that she was afraid to go to the police or her parents because Carlson threatened to kill herself.
Jane Doe isn’t the only person to come forward. Now that the accusations are out, numerous women have stated that they were witness to the abuse. According to Monika Ebly, who was 16 at the time, Carlson would come into the cabin late at night and visit Jane Doe’s bunk:
“Cherie had her hand under the blanket and was fondling Jane’s genitalia. It was under the blanket, the hand was at the exact location of where [the genitalia] would be. It was very clear that’s what was happening.”
Now here’s the most sickening part, if proven true. While this was going on, Carlson was apparently reciting a biblical lesson:
“She was still giving devotions which were nightly bible parables or a recap of the bible lesson we had earlier in the day. So she was giving a bible lesson ironically enough.”
Ugh. According to reports, Camp Awana officials, including Carlson’s parents, ignored earlier reports from other victims, so they must have at least been aware of the situation (is proven true). It’s not every day that you hear these types of accusations made against a woman in this type of setting.
We hear all the time about statutory rape charges (which are absolutely still rape in ever sense of the word in my opinion) but whether from denial, fear of reporting or both, it’s rare to hear stories of this type of abuse from women. It just goes to show, that regardless of how much some people pretend it doesn’t happen, it does and we should pay attention.