Ex-student Sues Lake Forest Montessori School over "Illegal Sexual Relationship" with Teacher Who's Now in Prison

Chicago Tribune
February 27, 2018

Celina Montoya was convicted of criminal sexual assault of a minor in 2016. A former student of hers in Lake Forest has filed suit against the Montessori school. (Illinois Department of Corrections)

former student from the Montessori School of Lake Forest has sued the school, saying a teacher engaged in a long-running “illegal sexual relationship” with him that included her sending him nude photographs of herself.

That ex-teacher is now in prison on a conviction of criminal sexual assault of a minor.

The former student filed the suit anonymously in Lake County last week, saying school leaders should have known that his teacher, Celina Montoya, was grooming him, according to a copy of the lawsuit. It claims school officials allowed Montoya to have prolonged periods of time alone with the student, which she used to “manipulate” him into “in an inappropriate and illegal sexual relationship.”

The suit also claims school officials learned of the inappropriate relationship in 2013 but failed to terminate her immediately or report the claims to the Department of Children and Family Services.

A school representative could not be reached for comment.

Montoya, 43 was convicted in 2016 to criminal sexual assault of a child between the ages of 13 and 17 and was sentenced to four years in prison, according to Lake County Circuit court records. She is currently serving time at the Logan Correctional Center near Springfield.

The suit, which also names Montoya as a defendant, says she hugged and kissed the boy at the school’s campus in Grayslake, engaged in romantic and sexually explicit conversations with him, told him she planned to marry him and sent him sexually explicit text messages, including nude photos of herself.

Lake County court records indicate Montoya was accused of having sexual contact with the victim at least 14 times between February 2012 and September 2013. She was indicted in 2015 on 14 counts of criminal sexual assault of a victim age 13 to 17, and three additional counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Upon her conviction for criminal sexual assault, she was required to register as a sex offender.

According to the lawsuit, Montoya’s relationship with the victim began in the fall of 2011 when he was 13 and in eighth grade and continued through the fall of 2013, when he told a therapist about the relationship and it was reported to police.

The private Montessori School of Lake Forest has campuses in Grayslake and in unincorporated Lake County outside Lake Forest.









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