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Military Academy Teacher Raped Student, Hit Her With Yardstick: Charges

By  Erica Demarest and Kelly Bauer | May 26, 2017 8:33am | Updated on May 26, 2017 1:44pm

 Anthony Frontera, 53, is charged with criminal sexual assault.
Anthony Frontera, 53, is charged with criminal sexual assault.
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COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A teacher and mentor at Chicago Military Academy at Bronzeville is charged with repeatedly raping a 16-year-old student from November to May.

It all started when Anthony Frontera, 53, told the girl "she was beautiful" and that he wanted to date her, Assistant State's Attorney Craig Taczy said during a bond hearing Friday.

School officials learned about the relationship May 10 after Frontera and the girl, 16, got into a physical fight on school grounds the day before, authorities said. Frontera had a cut under his eye; the girl suffered scratches to her arm.

Frontera is charged with criminal sexual assault.

"These accusations and these facts are egregious, sir. You are a teacher," Cook County Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. said before setting bail at $750,000.

According to prosecutors, Frontera raped the girl "on multiple occasions" from Nov. 1 to May 9. She was 15 when the assaults began, prosecutors said.

At least three witnesses, including a teacher, saw Frontera and the girl alone in Frontera's classroom with the door locked, Taczy said.

Several students witnessed the aftermath of Frontera's May 9 fight with the girl, which happened inside his classroom at 3519 S. Giles Ave., prosecutors said. Coffee was spilled on Frontera's pants, cabinets, table and floor. Broken yardstick pieces were strewn across his desk.

According to Taczy, the girl was limping, and Frontera claimed he spilled coffee when a lab experiment went wrong. Frontera's LinkedIn profile lists him as a physics teacher.

On May 9 and 10, the girl told several of the witnesses about her relationship with Frontera, prosecutors said. The girl claims she got mad when Frontera talked to another student, Taczy said.

Frontera admitted to hitting the girl with a stick, prosecutors said.

A witness told school officials about the fight and relationship on May 10, prosecutors said. Frontera would later confess to a fellow teacher that he'd been in a relationship "with someone younger," Taczy said.

A spokesman for Chicago Public Schools said Frontera was removed from his teaching position May 12, and that both the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had been notified of the allegations against the teacher.

CPS wouldn't tell reporters how long Frontera had been at the school, or what classes he taught. A spokesman said "crisis supports" were being provided to students.

Frontera, of the 3800 block of North Ottawa Avenue, has no prior criminal history.

By Friday morning, someone had set up a Facebook page titled "Support for Mr. Anthony Frontera." It had nearly 100 "likes" and more than 100 followers by 1:30 p.m. Friday.

The page's "About" section reads: "Mr. Frontera has dedicated his life to education and helped several of students [sic] succeed in the sciences. His dedication has allowed students to pursue higher education and reach their potential in science, math, and technology. He has served as mentor to several students and helped students throughout his career. In addition, he has always been a big advocate for helping the community in the Bronzeville area. Support this page and help Mr. Frontera seek justice!"

About two dozens teenagers appeared at Frontera's bond hearing Friday. They declined to speak with reporters.

CPS provided the following statement: "Anthony Frontera was removed from his teaching position earlier this month after CPS investigators discovered he was potentially harming a student. CPS notified the proper authorities when the allegations arose, and we are grateful for law enforcement's quick attention to this matter as we work to support the school community during this difficult time."