VERNON HILLS, Illinois -- A 28-year-old soccer coach at Vernon Hills High School in Illinois was charged with sexual assault after allegedly engaging in "unlawful sexual acts" with at least two boys, police said in a statement on Saturday.
Cori Beard, of Vernon Hills, is a part-time assistant coach for both the boys and girls soccer teams at Vernon Hills High School, police said. She has been employed by District 128 since 2013.
Beard allegedly had a sexual relationship with the boys, who currently attend Vernon Hills High School, between December 2016 and February 2018. Police do not believe the sexual encounters happened on school property.
The investigation began when high school administrators contacted police on Thursday about a possible relationship between Beard and a student.
When investigators interviewed Beard Thursday night, the investigation expanded to include other students.
She was charged with 12 counts of criminal sexual assault and is being held at the Lake County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond. Authorities said more charges involving a third student could be filed.
She is scheduled to appear in court on March 13.
School District 128 officials have activated their Crisis Team and will make counselors available to students and staff immediately, police said.
Vernon Hills parents said the allegations are alarming.
"My kids will be in high school in a few short years, and it's an eye opener for me," said parent Layne Craft.
District 128 released the following statement Saturday:
"The safety and well-being of our students and staff is our top priority, and Community High School District 128 regrets the pain some individuals may be experiencing as a result of recent allegations made regarding the conduct of District 128 employee Cori Beard. Beard was employed by District 128 since the 2013-14 school year, most recently as an assistant boys and girls soccer coach at Vernon Hills High School.
Upon learning of her possible criminal conduct involving a student, the Administration, working cooperatively with the Police Department, took measures to assure that Beard would have no further contact with students or staff. The District 128 Board of Education will take action on Beard's dismissal at its next meeting.
District 128 Administrators are continuing to cooperate with the Vernon Hills Police regarding this investigation. The District is providing counseling services to students and staff, and encourages anyone with information regarding this investigation to contact the Vernon Hills Police Department. Anyone hesitant to bring information forward to the police is encouraged to talk to a VHHS teacher, school official or counselor. They may also have a family member, friend or advocate report information on their behalf."
Illinois soccer coach accused of engaging in sex acts with 2 high school students, police say