Former school board member accused of sex abuse

JERSEY COUNTY, Ill. – A former Illinois school board member is accused of sexually abusing a child.

Rodney L. Bailey, 41, was arrested by Illinois State Police and charged Friday with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Police say the victim was under the age of 13.

Capt. James Morrisey, a spokesperson for Illinois State Police, says Bailey was part of the Southwestern School Board and was involved with youth basketball teams.

Moreisey says the investigation started June 13, 2014, but the crimes date back to 1997.

"We are supposed to trust these people with our kids' lives, and I think it's just being taken for granted," says Jessica Bailey, no relation to the suspect.

Rodney Bailey was not a teacher at Southwestern School District in Jersey County, but was a coach and at one time the school board president.

"How this man was able to ever become involved with the school district at all?" said Stephanie Ruyle, a mother of one.

The district superintendent didn't want to go on camera, but did say at the time of Bailey's employment, there were no signs of these allegations from 1997 in his background check.

The Illinois State Police just began investigating the claims this summer.

Bailey resigned last August from the school board to become the junior varsity boy's basketball coach. He resigned from that position this April.

Stephanie Ruyle, whose child is in the district, said the fact that Bailey was a coach makes the situation worse.

"These are adults that the children look up to and for advice that they trust and sometimes even confide in," Ruyle said.

A father of two said he may have seen Bailey a time or two, but doesn't know him personally.

"I got to say now that I know what he looks like I don't think he wants to meet me," the man said.

Bond for Bailey was set at $250,000, but he already posted bond.

The superintendent has stressed Bailey is no longer with the school district.


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