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Local News

Joliet District 86 demands teacher charged with attempted murder pay back money

Teacher worked for another district while suspended

Joliet Public Schools District 86 has demanded a former teacher charged with attempted murder pay back tens of thousands of dollars he collected while working for another school district.

Andrew Rodriguez, 40, of Tinley Park was a teacher at Washington Junior High School and Academy until Aug. 17, 2017, when he was put on paid leave while District 86 officials investigated an incident in which he allegedly shot a man July 18, 2017, in Tinley Park.

However, about two months before he was suspended, Rodriguez found employment as a teacher for Cicero School District 99, according to district records.

It wasn’t until May 2 that District 86 officials apparently learned of his other job and demanded he return close to $43,000 in salary payments and other money paid for benefits.

Eric Grodsky, an attorney for District 86, said in a letter to Rodriguez that he “unlawfully accepted a salary and other benefits from the board” throughout the 2017-18 school year.

On May 9, the board approved a resolution for district officials and their attorneys to pursue the money paid to Rodriguez “through any reasonably necessary means, including litigation.”

Eugene Keefe, Rodriguez’s attorney, said in response that Rodriguez didn’t violate any laws and he didn’t resign from District 86 as the board determined. Keefe also said Rodriguez would be willing to reach a settlement by paying $1,000.

District 86 spokeswoman Sandy Zalewski said there has been no pending or settled litigation between the district and Rodriguez regarding his previous employment.

Keefe did not return calls for comment Thursday.

Rodriguez faces charges of attempted murder and aggravated battery in Cook County. His next court date is Jan. 17.

On Jan. 1, 2017, Rodriguez’s former girlfriend filed a complaint against him with Mokena police that accused him of inflicting physical and mental abuse on her for more than a year, according to a Mokena police report.

The former girlfriend alleged that Rodriguez has a concealed carry permit and “always has a firearm on his person.”

The report said she wanted to document her complaint with the police but not pursue formal charges.

On Jan. 11, 2017, her ex-husband filed a protective order against Rodriguez that alleged he not only abused his girlfriend, but also her children.

Rodriguez allegedly held one of her children while he was crying and “began squeezing the child to shut him up.”

The case later was dismissed.

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