HAMMOND | A Morton High School math teacher is facing a federal complaint alleging he requested several underage female students send sexually explicit photos to him by cellphone.
The teacher, Jon Erik Lilly, was arrested Wednesday, federal court records show. A search of Lilly's computer found hundreds of sexually explicit images, including pictures of at least four underage female students.
Lilly, 27, of Cedar Lake, faces a federal charge of possessing visual depictions of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court.
The investigation into Lilly began when a mother suspected her daughter, a Morton High School student, was sexually active with the teacher.
Though the 17-year-old girl originally told investigators her relationship with Lilly was “strictly platonic,” she revealed in February a months-long sexual relationship with the teacher, according to court documents.
Lilly told a federal investigator he had received sexual images of the girl and that he had requested some of the images, according to the complaint.
However, he denied having any sexual or physical contact with the girl, explaining “nothing happened between us. ... We were waiting for her to turn 18,” according to the complaint.
A Morton High School administrator said she had written up Lilly in November when she found the girl in his classroom sitting between his legs, according to the complaint.
Calls to the School City of Hammond's administrative office and Morton High School were not returned late Wednesday, though Lilly told investigators he had been a teacher at Morton “until very recently,” federal court records state.
Three other former students told investigators they sent Lilly sexually explicit pictures upon his request, while an additional student said she had also sent pictures to Lilly though she stated she was “never pressured for images.”
One of the girls told investigators that, “Over the summer, around Lilly's birthday, he asked her to 'send a picture for my birthday,'” according to the complaint.
Another former student told investigators that Lilly had contacted her through his Twitter account to ask for her cellphone number, but she refused to give information and stopped contact with the teacher.
Lilly had an initial court appearance in front of U.S. District Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry on Wednesday. A probable cause and detention hearing is scheduled for Friday.
Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller is requesting anyone with further information about this case to contact Hammond police Sgt. Mark Biller at (219) 852-2966.