EVANSTON, Ill. - Prosecutors say a former Illinois teacher accused of sexual abuse will not face charges.
Evanston police said 35 people came forward to say they were victims of theater teacher Bruce Siewerth decades ago when he worked at Evanston Township High School.
Detectives have investigated their stories for months and said 40 to 50 people corroborated the alleged victims’ stories, according to WGN.
But no charges will be filed.
“The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office will not be able to bring charges because the statute of limitations expired,” a spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Last fall, at least half a dozen former students told WGN Investigates they were victims of or witnesses to inappropriate conduct by theater teacher in the 1980s and 1990s.
“I went to the teacher and I said, ‘We need this roll of tape, can you provide me a roll of tape?’ And he said to me, 'I will but you need to dance naked for me,’” David Glaubke, a student at ETHS class of 1987, said.
Another student recounted a similar experience.
“The teacher grabbed my penis on multiple occasions. The teacher rubbed-up against me. The teacher kissed me a couple of times,” Jeffrey Lieber, one of Sieweth’s accusers, said.
The now-retired teacher told WGN Investigates he never did anything wrong.
“I’m moving them around on stage and showing them what to do and stuff but nothing groping. I’m not Trump. I don’t understand it. I don’t get what’s going on or why it’s going on,” Siewerth said in 2017.
The former students, some of whom went on to careers in Hollywood and government, came forward last fall in the midst of the #MeToo movement.
Lieber, who first publicly detailed the allegations of abuse, said Wednesday he has no regrets about coming forward.
“All I ever wanted to do was, (a) Not carry around this secret anymore, (b) Let other people with the secret come out, and (c), have a public vetting of what’s happening,” Lieber told WGN Investigates on Wednesday.
“I’d still like to know what he knew and I’d still like him to admit what he did and say sorry."
Three civil suits remain active against the former teacher.
On Wednesday, Lieber revealed that he has letters from Siewerth and a journal that he said may help strengthen those suits.
The retired teacher’s attorney calls the decision not to file charges the correct one.