Chesterton Tribune


Feds charge NWI teacher with having female students sext him

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Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) A former math teacher at a northwest Indiana high school who helped students with their homework and personal issues persuaded several underage girls to send their nude photos to him by cellphone, according to federal court documents.

Jon Erik Lilly, of Cedar Lake, was arrested Wednesday on a federal charge of possessing visual depictions of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The charge was unsealed in U.S. District Court in Hammond, less than 20 miles from Chicago.

The Associated Press could not reach Lilly for comment Thursday because his phone number was unlisted. Court documents did not list a defense attorney.

Investigators allegedly found hundreds of sexually explicit images on Lilly's computer, including photos of at least four underage girls from the school.

A federal agent began investigating Lilly, 27, in February after the mother of a Morton High School student told Hammond police she believed Lilly and her 17-year-old daughter were having a sexual relationship.

The girl told investigators she had been in Lilly's class last year and exchanged cellphone numbers with him over the summer. She said Lilly helped her with math homework and listened to her personal troubles, eventually becoming one of her best friends. Both she and Lilly said their relationship was purely platonic, but Lilly told investigators he thought the girl might have a crush on him, documents said.

One of the girl's friends told investigators the 17-year-old had confided that she and Lilly had sex, court documents show. The 17-year-old later told investigators she had been having sex with Lilly at his home and texting him nude photos regularly since October 2012. According to the affidavit, the girl told investigators she had seduced Lilly and was in love with him.

The document said investigators who searched Lilly's cellphone and other devices found photos of at least four other girls between the ages of 16 and 20 posing nude or in sexual positions. The girls said Lilly had a reputation for flirting with students, and one of the girls told investigators that she sent Lilly a photo after he asked her to send him a picture for his birthday. None of the girls felt they had been coerced, the affidavit said.

According to court documents, Lilly's former girlfriend told investigators that he had been Facebook friends with several female middle school students when they dated.

Lilly no longer works for the school district. He was disciplined in November for a related incident that allegedly occurred during lunch hour in his classroom.

He appeared in federal court Wednesday and a detention hearing was scheduled for Friday.




Posted 3.29.1213