Mother says teacher’s assistant deserves harsher charges

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Allyssa Gustafson is charged with criminal sexual assault. She used to be a teacher’s assistant at Circle Academy in Urbana, where she’s accused of meeting and getting involved with a 14-year-old boy.

“It was numerous times; it was numerous messages; it was numerous conversations,” said his mother. She does not want her name shared for privacy reasons.

School is a place where students should feel safe, but this mother says that’s the opposite of her son’s experience. Her 14-year-old son goes to Circle Academy. In September, she was told by the principal there that her son had been involved with 23-year-old Allyssa Gustafson from March until the end of August.

“He was just making me aware that they had made a DCFS call because another staff member overheard a conversation between my son and another student about a teacher there.”

Gustafson had resigned for personal reasons the week before. The teenager’s mother says she brought the issue up to her son, who told her everything.

“He also told me that he had videos, text messages, pictures that was sent to him from the teacher.”

In one case, she saw Gustafson at her home but assumed the woman was a high school senior.

“I never thought for once someone would have the audacity and the nerve to walk past me on my way out the door, knowing what her intentions were with my underage son.”

She says when she tried to reach out to DCFS herself, they said they were busy.

“You cannot tell a parent whose child was sexually assaulted as a DCFS case worker and this being your job, the reason you didn’t contact me was because you were busy.”

We reached out to DCFS. They say they can’t comment on anything that’s ongoing. Gustafson has now been charged with criminal sexual assault, but this mother says it should be a lot more.

“Too many people, and I’m gonna say, get away with taking something from a child that they can never get back.”

His mother says her son is calling in sick a lot and is not motivated because of what happened.

Circle Academy leaders said, “At Cunningham, our highest priority will always be the well-being and safety of our students. In our schools, we strive to provide a supportive environment conducive to learning. As with all new hires, we conduct extensive background checks on our employees and have verified that all appropriate checks were completed in this case.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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