Former suburban teacher arrested on sexual assault, child pornography charges

GLENVIEW, Ill. -- A former north suburban teacher was charged with sexual assault and child pornography.

Matthew Laird, 32, first came to the attention of Glenview Police through of a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The child protection agency said someone uploaded child pornographic images to an adult pornographic sharing website.

Glenview police said they traced the upload to Laird. Last month, they searched his home where they said they found several electronic devices containing hundreds of child pornographic images and videos. Detectives also reportedly found hundreds of images of current and former female high school students in both pornographic and non-pornographic poses. Police are still trying to identify the girls.

Detectives said a deeper investigation found Laird committed two criminal sexual assaults, one of the victims was a juvenile at the time.

Tuesday Laird was charged with possession of child pornography, criminal sexual assault and dissemination of private sexual images.

At the time of the investigation, Laird was a teacher at North Shore Academy in Highland Park. He was let go from the school earlier this month, according to a statement from the superintendent.

“Upon first learning that Mr. Laird was under investigation for what was initially characterized by police on September 18th as ‘internet crimes against children,’ we immediately banned him from our campus and placed him on administrative leave. Due to the fact that he chose not to participate in our internal investigation of this matter, his employment was terminated at the October 10, 2018,” the statement said.

Laird previously taught at Loyola Academy in Wilmette from 2011 to 2014 and was a scholastic bowl moderator from 2004 to 2008 and 2010 to 2014. The school released a statement said, “At this point, it is unknown to us whether or to what extent any former Loyola student has been impacted, but we are continuing to cooperate fully with the Glenview Police Department in its ongoing investigation of this matter.

Laird was also involved with the scholastic bowl team at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire during the 2016-2017 school year and officiated a competition at Stevenson during the 2017-2018 school year.

Stevenson released a statement that said:

We are cooperating with the Glenview Police Department as it investigates whether any of the criminal activity connected to Mr. Laird occurred with Stevenson students or on our property. Although we received no complaints or concerns about Mr. Laird during his time with the Scholastic Bowl team, we are committed to assisting Glenview police in determining whether his alleged actions involved any our students.

The schools are asking anyone with information relevant to the investigation to contact the Glenview Police Dept at 847-901-6145.