Suburban teacher faces child pornography charges

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A suburban middle school teacher is in federal custody on child pornography charges and accused of convincing a teenage boy to send him explicit photos and videos.

51-year-old John Vastis has been a teacher at Buffalo Grove’s Meridian Middle School for 19 years.

Federal prosecutors say he convinced a 17-year-old boy to take pornographic images of himself and send them to him.

They say they’ve recovered more than 3,000 lines of messages between the two from the teenager’s computer and cell phone.

Police say the alleged victim does not go to the school- and no allegations have been made involving students at the school.

Vastis was arrested Thursday morning at his home in Lakemoor and appeared in federal court. He is being held until a detention hearing next week.

He’s been placed on what district officials call “investigatory leave.” They’re holding an emergency meeting tonight to decide whether he’ll be paid during that time.

Students here say Vastis is a great teacher, loved by students and are shocked by the allegations.

There are no other known complaints against Vastis but parents with concerns or information are encouraged to call a special department of homeland security tip-line at 1-866-DHS-2ICE.

Manufacturing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years per count.

 

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