Former Joliet Diocese teacher charged with traveling to meet a child, grooming pleads not guilty

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JOLIET, Ill. — A former Catholic school teacher in the southwest suburbs pleaded not guilty Thursday after he was accused of attempting to meet a child for sex in a video posted online by an advocate group.

Jeremy Hylka, 44, of New Lenox, was arrested last month following his release from Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox where he had been hospitalized for nearly two weeks.

Hylka was formerly a teacher at Joliet Catholic Academy and St. Joseph Academy in Lockport. A warrant was issued for his arrest following a video widely circulated on social media that showed Hylka allegedly meeting up with someone who had posed as a minor.

Police were made aware of him in late April after a group called “Save Our Siblings” posted a video on Snapchat. Police said the group is relatively new and involves men over 18 pretending to be minors. They engage with adults in chatrooms, with the goal of catching predators.

Bond was set at $100,000. Police said Hylka posted the 10% needed and was released.

Hylka was initially charged with traveling to meet a child and grooming, but a grand jury added an additional traveling to meet a minor charge, two counts of indecent solicitation, another count of grooming and solicitation to meet a child.

In a court appearance Thursday, he pleaded not guilty.

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