A former Catholic school teacher in the southwest suburbs has been charged after a video surfaced showing him “engaged in inappropriate communication with a minor.”
Jeremy M. Hylka was charged with traveling to meet a child and grooming after investigators were made aware of a Snapchat video that “possibly depicted inappropriate contact of an adult with a minor,” Joliet Police Lt. Joe Egizio told reporters at a new conference Friday afternoon.
He did not provide details on the contents of the video.
Detectives tracked down and interviewed the person who posted the video, Detective Sean Filipiak said. The person is a 19-year-old man who, in conjuction with a group called “Save Our Siblings,” posed as a 15-year-old when communicating with Hylka.
Filipiak said the man contacted Hylka independently and was not working with law enforcement, but detectives allegedly have evidence that Hylka thought the person he was talking to was 15 years old.
The man told detectives he decided to report Hylka to law enforcement because “he knows that there are a bunch of people out there doing this and he felt it to be his duty to go on different chat sites and engage in conversation because it really bothered him,” Filipiak said.
Hylka was a teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School in Lockport as well as St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church and the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus, both in Joliet, according to the Diocese of Joliet.
He was fired after diocesan officials learned about the charges Wednesday. Hylka is prohibited from working or volunteering for any diocesan school or parish, the diocese said in a statement.
“We urge any individuals who have suspicions of child abuse to notify local law enforcement authorities and diocesan officials,” the statement said. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a safe environment for all children under our care.”