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Hammond Morton math teacher arrested; sex with student alleged

Updated: April 29, 2013 12:02PM



A Morton High School algebra teacher quick to help his students with their homework had a sexual relationship with at least one student and talked four other students — all underage — into texting him pictures of themselves naked, according to federal attorneys.

Jon Lilly, 27, of Cedar Lake, was arrested Wednesday on preliminary charges of possessing sexually explicit pictures of a minor.

School City of Hammond officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

According to a probable cause affidavit unsealed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, Morton administrators started hearing rumors about Lilly and the girl and paid more attention to him in the last few months.

One administrator wrote him up last fall after finding him sitting in a chair in his room and the girl sitting a few feet in front of him on the floor.

Two of the girl’s friends then told school officials the girl and Lilly were having sex, which is when the school reported the issue to police.

When U.S. Homeland Security Investigation officers first met with the 17-year-old girl, identified as Jane Doe 1, and her mother in early February, the mother said she suspected her daughter was having sex with Lilly.

The daughter at first denied any sexual contact, telling officials that she considered Lilly a good friend and that he helped her study math.

He also helped her deal with a chaotic family life, the girl told police, but the relationship was “strictly platonic” and the two never texted.

Lilly, who told officers he no longer works at Morton, also denied having sex with the girl, telling them the two were just friends, although the girl might have a crush on him.

However, cell phone records showed the two had texted each other hundreds of times during the past few months, and a search of Lilly’s computer turned up hundreds of photos of naked women, including the first victim and others who police eventually learned were former students of Lilly’s.

Most of the girls told HSI that Lilly had asked them to text him photos and that they did so, saying they felt pressured but also thought it was “cool” a teacher was interested in them.

Jane Doe 2 told HSI that Lilly pressured her for more pictures and tried to get her to go out with him. Jane Doe 3 said Lilly also helped her with her homework and gave her advice on personal issues before asking her for a photo.

Jane Doe 4 said Lilly started following her Twitter account, which she at first thought was inappropriate until he told her he thought she was one of his “better and more interesting students.” They soon started texting, and he asked her to text him a picture. She told police she stopped after he started winking at her in school.

Jane Doe 6 said the two started flirting and texting during the previous school year and that she had sent him at least one image of her wearing nothing but underwear. She denied having sex with him, although another student, Jane Doe 5, reported to HSI that Jane Doe 6 had said they had and was embarrassed about it.

Jane Doe 5 told HSI that Lilly had also started following her on Twitter and had asked for her cell phone number. She said she stopped all after-school contact with him after this.

Lilly was ordered held without bond pending a detention and probable cause hearing set for Friday afternoon.



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