HAMMOND | Former Clark Middle/High School band teacher James Ciammetti was sentenced Monday to 30 years in federal prison for taking part in a sexual relationship with an adolescent female student.
Ciammetti, 43, of Oak Lawn, Ill., admitted in October 2009 to exchanging hundreds of sexually explicit computer chat and text messages with the girl, as well as taking pornographic photos of her in the band room.
In addition to the prison term, Hammond federal Judge James Moody sentenced Ciammetti to 20 years of supervised release. Ciammetti pleaded guilty to a count of coercion and enticement of a minor and a count of manufacturing child pornography.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dropped similar charges, and Ciammetti agreed to relinquish the balance of his teacher's retirement account, to be paid as restitution.
"Today's sentencing should put all types of child predators on notice that serious consequences await those who sexually exploit innocent children," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in Chicago. "This case was particularly troubling because of Mr. Ciammetti's position of public trust as an educator. HSI will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners to protect our children and ensure that sexual predators feel the full weight of the law."
Ciammetti was arrested after school Sept. 3, 2008. Police said he and the girl had sex about 10 times on school grounds during a 10-month relationship. The girl's father discovered Ciammetti's crimes after tracking his child's computer use, court records state.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Hammond Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip Benson and Jill Trumbull Harris.
As Ciammetti's case wound its way through federal court, court records indicate charges filed in Lake Criminal Court in Crown Point in connection with the case remained in effect and pending.
Lake County prosecutors had filed two counts of child molesting, two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and a single count of child solicitation against Ciammetti on Sept. 5, 2008.
Ciammetti pleaded not guilty to the charges three days later and had been set for trial in August 2009 when he was taken into federal custody.