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'Log off! Log off!' teacher orders students when sexual assault livestreamed during first grader's remote learning class

By Deanese Williams-Harris and Rosemary Sobol, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

"She saw the defendant close the computer," Turano said.

The teacher called the police, the school principal and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Officers went to the victim's location, and Walls was arrested after she identified him.

While being taken into custody, Walls began crying and said, "I don't know why," said Turano, adding he also said, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

Walls is a senior in high school and plans on finishing, said his lawyer. He works 40 hours a week, sometimes six days a week, in construction; has "extensive family ties," including several siblings and other relatives; and is not a flight risk.

Walls has no history of sexual crimes, or violent crimes, his attorney said, adding Walls has been diagnosed with a disorder that impairs his ability to control his impulses and concentration, said the lawyer, calling it "somewhat of a disability."

Beach, before ordering no bail for Walls, said he had several reasons he made that decision, the first being Walls was "currently on bail for a felony offense."

Additionally, the crime was "broadcast on video ... multiple people saw it, including the teacher," Beach said.

The judge also noted that the victim's outcry was "immediate" to the principal of her school and others, and Walls made an "admission," said the judge.

During an unrelated news conference on Friday, Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson called the situation "disturbing."

 

Jackson said the district in recent years has increased supports for students who experience sexual assault or harm, and teachers or counselors are often the first to identify an issue a student is facing.

"We provide a lot of basic needs for our students, and safety is one of them," Jackson said.

"DCFS has already reported a dramatic decrease in the number of cases reported. ... We know these things have not stopped occurring, but what has happened is there are fewer watchful eyes looking at students, connecting with students to make sure that they're safe."

Walls was arrested late one recent evening with a loaded Glock handgun, Turano said, and he was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, a pending case that is up for arraignment Nov. 30th.

Walls will be back in court on the sexual assault case Oct. 19.

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(Chicago Tribune reporter Hannah Leone contributed.)

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