A former teacher at Chippewa Middle School in Des Plaines has been charged with felony grooming and a misdemeanor count of sexual exploitation of a child after the parents of a 15-year-old girl told police the man sent computer and text messages that investigators characterized as “sexting.”
Jack K. Pickup, 34, of the 100 block of Liberty Street, Barrington, posted 10 percent of his $10,000 bond and was released after a hearing Thursday in McHenry County Circuit Court, said Lt. James Popovits, a spokesman for McHenry County Sheriff’s Police.
“Grooming” relates to befriending a minor with the aim of developing a sexual relationship.
A former social studies teacher, Pickup had been involved in an “online relationship” with the former student since 2011, and began “sexting” with her last month, police said.
During one online communication, Pickup sent the girl a photograph of his genitals, police said. He was arrested July 3 at his parents’ home in Barrington, according to authorities.
“At this time we don’t believe any other students are involved, but the investigation is continuing,” Popovits said.
The 15-year-old lives in an unincorporated area of McHenry County, Undersheriff Andrew Zinke said. She is a recent graduate of Chippewa Middle School and met Pickup while she was in seventh grade, police said.
“There was no physical contact that we’re aware of,” Zinke said.
The girl’s parents recently alerted authorities to the alleged communication between Pickup and the girl, police said.
“The parents of this victim should be commended for monitoring their child’s online and texting conversations,” Zinke said. “We encourage parents to maintain vigilance and continue to remind their children of the possible dangers of social media,” Zinke said.
Des Plaines School District 62, where Pickup was formerly employed, was closed on Thursday. District officials could not be reached for comment.
Twitter: @ChicagoBreakingCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times