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District moves to fire teacher facing child porn charges

Published: Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 5:01 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 8:54 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – School officials in St. Charles are moving to fire a Sycamore man arrested this week on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography.

Jerome McCauley, 45, was charged Monday after police searched his home in the 300 block of Grant Street in Sycamore. Court records show he acknowledged having between 1,000 and 1,500 images and five to 10 videos of child pornography, some showing 12-year-old girls.

St. Charles School District 303 soon will begin the dismissal process, Superintendent Don Schlomann said. McCauley is a 19-year employee with District 303, who taught seventh-graders and coached volleyball at Wredling Middle School. He was placed on leave after his arrest.

Parents waiting outside the school Friday afternoon had mixed reactions about his arrest. Some withheld judgement, saying it's a matter for law enforcement now. Others said McCauley's arrest came as a shock because he was well-liked by students and always acted professionally.

McCauley was placed on administrative leave with pay when District 303 learned of his arrest, Schlomann said. The leave became unpaid once he was charged, Schlomann said.

A retired teacher is handling McCauley's classes, Schlomann said, noting there are plans to post the position. The coaching responsibilities likely will be assigned in the spring, he said.

"[DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack] has been very helpful," Schlomann said. "We now have a copy of the police report, which tells us the details of the case."

Police began the investigation in August, when a Sycamore detective assigned to Internet crimes found an IP address associated with someone who might have possessed child pornography, police have said.

After a series of subpoenas and search warrants, police recently connected McCauley to the child pornography, police said. McCauley reportedly collected the material in a file-sharing program that allowed other users to download it.

McCauley's bond was set at $1 million Tuesday. He would have to post $100,000 bail in order to be released from the DeKalb County Jail.

Schlomann said he expects the school board will begin the 90-day process for dismissal at its regular meeting this month.

"The only alternative with that is if there is a resignation," he said.

If convicted of the most serious charge he faces, McCauley would be sentenced to six to 30 years in prison.

Schlomann said if McCauley is convicted, the district would go through the process with the state to remove his teaching license.

McCauley is next due in court Nov. 13.

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