posttrib
DECENT 
Weather Updates

Ex-Morton teacher says student porn ‘appalling,’ gets 12 years in prison

JLilly Hammond Mortteacher.  | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Medi         ptmet

Jon Lilly, Hammond Morton teacher. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media ptmet

storyidforme: 55613646
tmspicid: 17372859
fileheaderid: 7833969

Updated: October 28, 2013 7:40AM



A former Morton High School math teacher who admitted to possessing pornographic images of two of his students will serve 12 years in prison.

Speaking in a breaking voice, Jon Erik Lilly, 28, of Cedar Lake, apologized to his victims, their families and his own family during his sentencing hearing Thursday at U.S. District Court in Hammond.

“What I’ve done as a teacher is truly appalling,” Lilly, wearing an orange jail outfit, told U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano.

Lilly pleaded guilty in June to two counts of receiving child pornography. Federal attorneys have said in court filings that Lilly asked several students to send him what the students assumed were naked pictures of themselves. One of the victims who did so, identified only as Jane Doe 1, also began a sexual relationship with Lilly when she was 17 last year. The second victim, Jane Doe 4, said Lilly followed her on Twitter when she was 16. She asked him to stop but then started texting with him after he told her she was one of his better students. He then asked her to send him a picture, and she sent him several, including ones of her naked. She stopped, she told police, after Lilly winked at her in school.

Lilly promised Judge Lozano he wouldn’t commit his crimes again, noting that he’s lost his teaching job because of it. He asked for leniency and said he still believed he could contribute to society.

“I know I can do well again in the future,” Lilly said.

His attorney, L. Felipe Sanchez, said his client had cooperated from the beginning with police and reached out to the government about pleading guilty.

“He told me he wanted to man up and face the consequences of the mistakes that he made,” Sanchez said during the hearing.

Lilly’s father, Jon C. Lilly, also spoke, saying that although he did understand his son needed to be punished for his “monumental lapse of judgment,” he didn’t understand why such a long sentence was needed.

“Your honor, my son has value; he is not a throwaway,” his father said.

Sanchez did not ask for a specific sentence but asked instead that Lozano sentence Lilly to a term that would allow him to continue to live his life once freed. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Koster urged Lozano to grant the 12-year sentence that the government agreed to recommend as part of its plea deal with Lilly and said she was “disappointed” that Lilly and Sanchez had not asked for it, also. The sentence was less than the 168 months to 210 months that sentencing guidelines recommended and was less than the mandatory minimum of 15 years to 30 years in prison if the government had instead charged him with producing child pornography, which Koster said the government had the evidence for. However, Koster said, she thought the sentence was fair, especially considering Lilly agreed to plead guilty before he was charged.

She noted that Jane Doe 1, who has said in the past she loves Lilly, was groomed by him and would have to live with what happened for the rest of her life. She added that Lilly had two victims, had asked multiple students for photos and was seen by other students flirting with girls in his class.

“We can’t allow our school teachers to hit on our students,” Koster said.

He also did not cooperate right away, as Sanchez argued, instead lying to police until they found evidence on his and the students’ phones and computers, Koster said.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.