EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — A 50-year-old woman was charged with sexual assault after police said she had sexual contact with a student at the school where she worked.
Erin Hamilton-Foley, an assistant principal at Edwardsville High School, was charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault Wednesday for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student.
According to a press release from Madison County State's Attorney Thomas Haine, police in Edwardsville received a tip on Monday alleging an assistant principal at the school had a sexual relationship with a student under the age of 18. A day later, she was taken into custody on suspicion of sexual assault.
According to the charging documents, Hamilton-Foley was the student's assigned mentor at the time of the alleged sexual assaults.
The Edwardsville Police Department said anyone with information about this case or the possibility of any more victims should call Detective Sgt. Matt Senci at 618-656-2131.
According to an active biography on the school's website Wednesday afternoon, Hamilton-Foley was an assistant principal for 11th-grade students.
“It is a crime when adults in positions of trust, authority and supervision over our youths – let alone their own students – manipulate that power dynamic for sex,” Haine said in the press release. "We take such crimes seriously and prosecute them accordingly. Such actions undermine confidence in our schools and teachers while causing a great disruption in many personal relationships and throughout our community."
Parent Jodi Pinkas said she’s shocked and disappointed.
"It's scary to know that your children are being sent to school and you think that they're going to be protected. And then this is going on and kids are being preyed on. Obviously, the young student was old enough to make decisions on his own, but still, she knew better than to do that with an underage student," Pinkas said.
Pinkas said Foley helped students who had individualized education plans, like her daughter, Jaidyn.
"She worked very closely with my daughter during IEP meetings and everything. I actually ran into her at the grocery store. We'd always speak. She always checked on Jaidyn to see how she's doing since she's been out of school. So it's kind of a shocker because she was a big mentor and played a big part in my daughter's life," Pinkas said.
Jaidyn said, as one of Foley’s former students, she can’t believe it.
"I was really shocked. I was with my friend. She got a call from her sister, and, like, my jaw dropped. I was so surprised," Jaidyn said.
The school website shows Foley oversaw the junior class, and Jaidyn said she’s known her for a long time. Foley was even her school counselor in middle school.
"Yeah, it's kind of sad because me and her had a close bond. I mean, a couple of the principals and staff, I had a close bond with over there. And it's just really crazy to think that she would do something like that," Jaidyn said.
Pinkas said this is heavily affecting current students and all of them have lost some trust in the school district.
"You know, I don't think they would intentionally hire a teacher knowing they have these thoughts. And so, I feel like they're doing what they can, but I feel like there's a lot more that should be done," Pinkas said.
The Edwardsville School District provided the following statement:
We are aware that a District #7 employee has been criminally charged. There is no greater priority than the health, safety, and welfare of our students. To that end, District #7 fully cooperates with local law enforcement anytime there is an investigation which may involve a District #7 student or staff member. District #7 cannot comment further on personnel matters.
Hamilton-Foley's bond was set at $250,000 by Associated Judge Ronald Slemer.
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