Richards coach is charged with filming student

  • Written by Dermot Connolly


    The Richards High School volleyball coach charged with illegal filming a female student in a locker room had been suspended without pay and banned from the grounds of all three District 218 schools.

          In addition to Richards, at 10601 S. Central Ave. in Oak Lawn, the other schools are Shepard High School in Palos Heights, and Eisenhower High School in Alsip.

Raymond W. Van Syckle, 31, who was a pool and equipment manager in addition to coaching girls volleyball at Richards, was arrested Nov. 1 at the school. He was then suspended without pay, said District 218 public information officer Bob McParland on Monday.

Police and school personnel had learned on Oct. 30 that a female student had found a cellphone in the girls locker room that she believed had been used to take photos of her while she was changing.

Oak Lawn police said in a statement issued Nov. 4 that after evidence from the phone confirmed that the girl had been photographed, Van Syckle, of the 800 block of Shortwood Drive in Joliet, was charged with unauthorized video recording, a Class 3 felony. He appeared at a Nov. 3 bond hearing in Bridgeview Courthouse, where bond was set at $75,000. Court records show he has since been released after posting bail.

People waiting to pick up students outside Richards last week were appalled by the news.

          “I think it is despicable,” said one father from Evergreen Park, as he waited to pick up his son.

          “I’m glad he was found out. Now it is up to the courts to take care of him,” said the man, who did not want to give his name.

“I was shocked when I heard it. He seemed like a nice guy. He was very friendly with the students,” said Halima Ramahi, who graduated from Richards earlier this year. “A lot of people knew him from taking swimming, and he was also a volleyball coach.

          Her younger brother, Ali Ramahi, 14, is a freshman and classmate of the girl who found the cellphone and reported it.

“Everyone was talking about it. It’s just disgusting,” said Ali.

         The Oak Lawn Police Department and Richards High School officials are asking for any other students with information related to the case to please contact Richards High School administration at (708) 499-2550.