District 202 Superintendent Eric Witherspoon told the Board of Education Monday night that Evanston Township High School is reviewing how student complaints about a band color guard coach were handled, “to see if we can modify or improve” any similar investigation in the future.
Because it involves a personnel matter, Witherspoon did not mention the former coach by name, nor did he give specifics on what may have been discovered.
However, it is known that the individual in question is 63-year-old Lorenzo Medrano, who was charged in Northwest Indiana for allegedly fondling a 16-year old girl in 2019 at LaPorte High School where he also coached.
Medrano was fired by the LaPorte school 2020.
Last month, Barbara Tomaradze, the student representative on the ETHS Board of Education, alleged that her own school failed to act against Medrano despite complaints from ETHS students. Tomaradze said the “complaints were dismissed and he kept working here.”
Public records show Medrano worked part time at ETHS in 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20.
Witherspoon told the Board that the students who complained at the time were interviewed, and both the dean’s office and human resources were involved in the inquiry.
The superintendent added that a determination was made and “the employee did return for a summer camp program on the [ETHS] property.”
In September, 2021, Witherspoon said District 202 found out about the charges in Indiana, and “at the moment that we learned of it the employee was sent off the property, was placed on leave, and has had no contact with students.”
Witherspoon said he has since spoken with Tomaradze, and praised her for “alerting us to something we needed to be alerted to.”
He said the case is “being closely re-examined and will have an impact on what we do going forward.”
“ETHS could have done better,” he stated.
Meantime, in a LaPorte police document, Medrano has denied the charges, and said he only had a normal student-teacher relationship with the girl in question.