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Rumors, Open Secrets and Regrets: A Retired Evanston Teacher Shares His Story

Former Evanston Township High School teacher John Reque heard plenty of rumors about a colleague in the theater department during his 25 years at the school. And now, decades later, those rumors have surfaced as allegations of sexual abuse against students.

Ten former students tell WBEZ they were victims of or witnessed sexual abuse by the theater teacher, Bruce Siewerth. Two former students have filed a civil lawsuit and the Evanston police are investigating. No charges have been filed. 

Siewerth did not respond to multiple requests for an interview. He has denied the allegations against him in interviews with other media outlets. ETHS did not respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit.

Reque was advisor of the school’s newspaper during those years, helping students break news and bring important issues to light. He is now looking back with regret at the way he responded to the rumors about his former colleague.

“Guilt is probably the first emotion,” Reque said. “Am I complicit to this and to what it extent?”

Press play to hear Reque share his story with WBEZ’s Carrie Shepherd.

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