CAHOKIA, IL (KTVI) – A high school teacher's assistant and assistant track coach at one the most heralded programs in Illinois is accused sexually abusing a student -- while that teacher knew he was HIV positive.
Mario Hunt, 35, was in the St. Clair County Jail Monday night with a $300,000 bail.
He’d been placed on leave from the school.
The news is stunning in a town where even people not connected to the track to team feel like they are, including the police chief, who was among those arresting Hunt, Monday.
“We’ve won, I think it’s 4 championships out the last 6 years and to have part of that armor, that niche, now he’s probably gone,” said Cahokia Police Chief, James Jones.
Hunt allegedly sexually abused a male high school student between January and June of 2011, while knowing he was HIV positive.
He faces three felony counts.
Jones said two male victims had come forward.
Criminal charges, so far, appeared to only pertain to one victim.
School Superintendent, Art Ryan, said he learned of the charges after classes ended; notifications would go out to parents, Tuesday.
Prior to that, he said he was only aware of a student complaint against Hunt for inappropriate social media postings; hunt was placed on leave after police came to question him Thursday.
Along with being an assistant for the heralded “Commanches” track program, Ryan said hunt’s primary job was as a teacher’s aide for special needs students. Ryan said Hunt served in that capacity at an elementary school, before coming to the high school; he’d been with the district for 6 years.
Ryan said Hunt also pitched in as an unofficial trainer for the boys’ football and basketball teams.
“It’s devastating. He had the students to look up to him, you know, it’s very devastating,” said parent, Rona Stanford.
“These 2 individuals were brave to come out and explain to us what took place. We also ask that if this has happened to anybody else at the school, please contact us, we need to hear their story,” Jones said. “We need to know, just for the fact that, we hope that if something did happen, that people are tested also.”
Police said the crimes happened at school, during school hours; the victims were still students at the school, but not part of the track team.
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