Investigation of counselor who wrote book about sex to cost SD227 $3,100
BY CASEY TONER ctoner@southtownstar September 27, 2012 12:50PM
Updated: September 27, 2012 10:55PM
Rich Township High School District 227 spent more than $1,600 in August to investigate the former guidance counselor and varsity girls basketball coach who wrote a racy and sexually explicit self-help book, and the district could be on the hook for $1,500 more in legal bills in the case.
District 227 fired Bryan Craig earlier this month after he authored “It’s Her Fault.” Craig last month was suspended as a counselor at Rich Central High School after a SouthtownStar report on the book, which contains his controversial and often crude views on women and sex.
Documents show that the Scariano, Himes and Petrarca law firm was paid $1,633 to investigate Craig from Aug. 22 to 31. Attorney John Fester, who works at the firm, said it wracked up an additional $1,500 in attorney fees to investigate Craig in September, but those invoices have not yet been submitted to the district for payment.
“I think it’s the cost of running an effective school district,” District 227 board member Sheila Friday said. “At the end of the day, it’s worth it to ensure an overall better learning environment for our children.”
Among other charges, the attorneys were paid $161 to work on a reaction to the counselor’s publication of the book. They also were paid $92 to investigate whether the book was sold on campus during work hours and $391 to review case law regarding the dismissal of a teacher.
It took the law firm almost an hour to review Craig’s book, but the district was not charged for that.
It’s possible the firm will do more work for the district because Craig has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago seeking $1 million from the district, saying his First Amendment rights were violated. The lawsuit is asking a jury to award Craig money for attorney fees and to “compensate him for the injuries he suffered” by being fired.
Fester said that although the district’s insurer will pick a firm to represent the district, the district has requested that Scariano, Himes and Petrarca handle this matter.
Supt. Donna Simpson Leak declined to comment Thursday.