Monday, August 20, 2018

Prosecutors: Rogers Park woman forced boys to ingest melatonin at sleepover

Bertalan | Chicago Police Dept
A Rogers Park woman forced three boys who attended a sleepover at her home to take melatonin so they would calm down and go to sleep, according to allegations laid out in court records.

Cheree Bertalan, 48, of the 7600 block of North Eastlake Terrace hosted the two-night sleepover on the weekend of July 7th through July 9th. Two 10-year-old boys and a 12-year-old boy are listed as the victims.

Police said in a report that late on the first night “each of the victims were [sic] grabbed by the arm, taken to the kitchen, grabbed by the jaw, and forced to open their mouths to take the melatonin pills.” Late on the second night, each boy was again told to take the pills, prosecutors allege.

Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services launched an investigation into the incident and Bertalan was arrested on August 9th at Chicago’s Area North Police Headquarters.

Prosecutors charged her with five misdemeanor counts of causing a child to be endangered and three misdemeanor counts of battery. She was released on a recognizance bond.

Police listed Bertalan’s occupation as “teacher” on her arrest report. CWBChicago contacted a spokesperson for the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 where a Cheree Bertalan is listed as a second-grade teacher.

The spokesperson on Friday stated that she was out of the office, but would be back in touch “shortly.” No further response to that email or a follow-up email has been received from the department as of Monday evening.

Bertalan is due back in court on September 19th.

Melatonin “is a natural hormone that plays a role in sleep,” according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website, which says “there have been no reports of significant side effects of melatonin in children.”

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