Substitute teacher faces sexual exploitation charges after alleged encounter in front of students at North Side school

James Ruml, 29, has been a CPS substitute for three years, according to his defense attorney.

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A 29-year-old substitute teacher has been charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor for rubbing his genital area in the presence of students, according to Cook County prosecutors.

Sun-Times file

A substitute teacher has been charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of a child following an incident that allegedly happened in front of students at a North Side magnet school in the fall.

James Ruml, 29, was subbing for a writing class Nov. 16 when three 11-year-old students watched as the teacher “leaned back in his chair, stretched his legs wide open and began touching his genital area,” Cook County prosecutors said during a livestreamed bail hearing Saturday. Authorities said it happened in the 4100 block of North Marine Drive, which is where Walt Disney Magnet School is located.

Ruml then allegedly got up to walk around the classroom before stopping in a corner of the room where he continued touching himself, according to prosecutors, who noted that he was fully clothed the entire time.

Students told a teacher about the alleged incident two days later, and the school notified police, prosecutors said.

Ruml, a Chicago resident, has been a CPS substitute for three years, according to his defense attorney, Joseph Cavanaugh. There were no accusations that Ruml exposed himself or made any attempt to touch the students, Cavanaugh said.

The substitute teacher turned himself in Jan. 20, and his bail was set at $75,000 Saturday. Ruml was prohibited from contact with anyone under the age of 18 while his case is pending. He is due in court again Feb. 3.

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