A volunteer football coach at an Illinois high school in a leafy green suburb of Chicago was exposed as a decades-old sex offender after the season was already underway, and the fallout has at least temporarily ensnared the school’s athletic director and principal as well.
As reported by Chicago news network WGN and ABC affiliate WLS, Lake Park (Ill.) High School assistant football coach Frank Battaglia was exposed as a convicted sex offender dating back more than 30 years to an incident when he allegedly fondled a teenage girl. Despite criminal sexual abuse convictions, Battaglia was allowed to serve as a volunteer high school football coach for Lake Park and was not forced to undergo a background check.
That’s particularly damning because part of Battaglia’s sentence was a permanent ban from “teaching school athletics.”
According to WLS, the Lake Park school district requires all athletic volunteers to undergo criminal background checks and fingerprinting, but those procedures were apparently foregone with Battaglia.
Longtime Lake Park football coach Chris Roll was the first to step before the guillotine for the assistant’s involvement, handed an indefinite suspension last Friday. His suspension was followed by both the athletic director and principal, who were each placed on administrative leave during further investigations into the incident.
While some in the Lake Park district have expressed concern about the suspension for Roll, there appears to be little that officials can do to revisit the suspension until the aforementioned investigation is concluded (and even then, it’s questionable if anything about their assessment of Battaglia’s hiring would change.