KENWOOD — A member of the King College Prep Local School Council has been charged with public indecency for the third time, but it won't necessarily cost him his position at the high school.
On Sept. 9, police arrested Reginald Jones, one of two community representatives elected to serve on the LSC of the selective-enrollment school, after an officer allegedly observed him masturbating at 9 a.m. in his car in a no-parking zone in the 900 block of South Morgan Street near the University of Illinois at Chicago, according to court records.
“I’m shocked to hear it, it’s unfortunate and it is concerning,” Lance Williams, chairman of the LSC, said after being informed of the charges by DNAinfo Chicago Friday.
Jones, who was released after posting a $50,000 bail, did not respond to repeated requests for comment at his home or by telephone. His attorney from Robert Kuzas Law Offices declined to comment.
Williams later spoke with Jones, who told Williams he plans to challenge the charges.
"He said the charges are false and he is fighting the case and he is confident that he will be absolved of all charges," Williams said.
According to CPS guidelines, Jones would be required to disclose a conviction, but apparently would not have to resign unless it was a crime involving sexual abuse or assault, children, drugs or prostitution.
“I’m shocked — I can’t believe CPS has rules where for something like this you can just say, ‘Yeah, I did it,’ and everything’s OK,” said Mark Lipscomb, a social studies teacher at King at 4445 S. Drexel Blvd.
Jones has been convicted of public indecency twice before, in 2003 and 2012, and is now being charged with a felony, according court records.
“That it’s the third time is the most shocking,” Lipscomb said. “If it was the first time you might say OK and presume innocence — but the third time?”
Representatives from Chicago Public Schools did not respond to requests for comment on whether Jones had disclosed his arrests or whether he could remain on the council.
If convicted for a third time, Jones will have to register as a sex offender, according to the Illinois Sex Offender Registration website.
It's unclear whether he'd still be able to attend meetings at the school or continue his work volunteering with King's marching band if he is convicted.
But parents of students at King said Jones should step down if he's found guilty, even though his arrests did not apparently involve children.
"No sex registered offender should be allowed to be around a school or children period," said a parent of a senior at King, who asked to remain anonymous. "I don't care how much anyone likes you, what they think about you it shouldn't be allowed — school is suppose to be considered a safe haven for children."
Other parents said it is common sense for Jones to step down and curtail his volunteering at the school if he's convicted.
“This is common sense to me — would any other registered sex offender be allowed anywhere near children?” said one parent of a student at King who asked to remain anonymous. “Even though his offenses have not been linked directly to any child or children, they are public and sexual in nature, meaning any child could have witnessed his behavior.”
News of Jones’ arrest comes at a difficult time for the local school council, which is currently tasked with selecting a new principal after Shontae Higginbottom resigned from the position in October.
The local school council is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Monday night at the school to finalize the process on selecting the new principal.