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United Airlines sexual abuse case intensifies

April 7, 2014, Chicago, Il. - Seven male adults who participated in a United Airlines mentoring program as children claim that they suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of a mentor, Marvin Lovett, who they thought would help them obtain college scholarships.


April 7, 2014
By Carey Fredericks

The Attorney representing the alleged victims, Lyndsay Markley, believes that the number of victims could actually exceed 25.

The abuse started when the plaintiffs were 6th and 7th grade students at James Weldon Johnson Elementary School in North Lawndale, Chicago — and continued until they were between 16 and 17 years old.

All of the plaintiffs encountered Lovett after being selected by him to join a United Airlines' college scholarship program called the 'United Airlines Believers Program'. Lovett's role was United Airlines' Project Coordinator for the program.

One of the Believer's Program participants, Sylvester Jamison, shot Lovett to death in his apartment in 2000. Jamison — then aged 17 — told police that Lovett had sexually abused him since elementary school. The police investigation found 140 tapes depicting sexual acts involving underage boys in the Believers program.

The airline shut down the mentoring program and failed to deliver on its promise to provide full college scholarships. Despite United Airlines' claim to have no notice of Lovett's conduct, at least one concerned parent claims to have complained to the airline about his behaviour toward the boys as early as 1996 or 1997. It appears that United Airlines chose to ignore these complaints.

The Attorney representing the alleged victims, Lyndsay Markley, says: "So far, United Airlines has buried its head in the sand and taken no responsibility for what happened during the Believers Program. I'm determined to see that the victims get the justice they deserve."

"This program was meant to improve the lives of disadvantaged children — not degrade them in the worst way possible. Many of the victims eventually found the strength to come forward after watching the Pennsylvania State University/Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal unfold in 2011."

After receiving the go-ahead in federal court on March 19, 2014, Lyndsay Markley is preparing to file the victims' lawsuit in Cook County State Court.