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Former Joliet Catholic teacher accused of grooming didn’t ‘fulfill employment requirements,’ Joliet diocese says

Former Joliet Catholic teacher accused of grooming didn’t ‘fulfill employment requirements,’ Joliet diocese says

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A former Joliet diocesan teacher charged with traveling to meet a child and grooming “did not fulfill employment requirements” while teaching at a Lockport Catholic school, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet said Friday.

Jeremy Hylka, 44, who remained hospitalized Friday night, received a substitute teaching license in January and was not enrolled in a teacher preparation program, which is required to continue as a full-time teacher, diocese officials said in a statement.

The principal of the school, St. Joseph Catholic School, has been placed on administrative leave while school and diocesan officials look into Hylka’s employment.

A warrant was issued for his arrest on April 29th, one day after the Joliet Police Department discovered a video on Snapchat depicting possible “inappropriate contact” between an adult and a minor, Joliet police have said.

The video that was brought to police’s attention was made by a 19-year-old citizen, acting independently, who posed as a 15-year-old and uploaded alleged correspondence between the two on social media, police said.

Detectives interviewed the user who uploaded the video, vetted all messages and content from the account, and identified the suspect as Hylka.

Hylka had previously been put on leave for two weeks in January, while the diocese investigated a Tik Tok video showing an adult man lip-syncing as text scrolling behind him referenced an experience in high school when he was propositioned or groomed by an unnamed teacher, the diocese said in a statement Tuesday.

“Because the text in the video referenced a situation similar to that of Hylka’s, the diocese determined the most prudent course of action was to put Hylka on administrative leave while the matter was investigated,” the statement said.

The man in the video wanted to remain anonymous and declined to talk to diocesan officials, they said.

They did not disclose Hylka’s leave to school parents, they said, because “it was a confidential personnel matter and because the account in the video could not be clearly linked to Hylka.”

After the warrant was issued for Hylka’s arrest, police could not immediate locate him but later said he was admitted to a hospital while they were searching for him. His attorney told them he will turn himself in after his release from the hospital, police previously said.

While it wasn’t clear what he was being treated for, Hylka remained hospitalized Friday night, Joliet Police Sgt. Dwayne English said.

His bail was set at the end of April at $100,000.

He was fired Apr. 28 from St. Joseph Catholic School and from his positions as a youth minister at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church and the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus, both in Joliet, the diocese said. He is also prohibited from working or volunteering for any diocesan school or parish.


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