Jeremy M. Hylka has been charged with traveling to meet a child and grooming himself, Joliet police said.
Publicly, Hylka was a former minister of youth, father and teacher, and passionate about the weather. He even appeared in videos for the Joliet Meteorological Center.
But out of sight of her students and parishioners, police say Hylka attempted to solicit sex with children over the internet.
Police said on Wednesday they were alerted to a Snapchat video which they said possibly showed inappropriate contact with a minor by an independent group called Save Our Siblings.
In part of the video sent to police, authorities say you can see Hylka fleeing a Joliet McDonald on Tuesday night after investigators said he realized he was caught in a setup by the independent organization.
Police said Hylka showed up at McDonalds under the impression that he was meeting a teenager for sex.
Police said they spoke with at least one minor Hylka allegedly had inappropriate contact with, who gave them videos and text messages on social media showing other inappropriate behavior, authorities said.
Joliet Police said the material was reviewed and validated before multiple felony charges were filed by the Will County State Prosecutor.
An arrest warrant was issued for him on Wednesday, but Hylka is not currently in custody. Police said they were actively looking for him. He will be held on $ 100,000 bond while in police custody.
Hylka worked at Saint Joseph Catholic School in Lockport, Saint Paul Apostle Catholic Church in Joliet, and Saint Raymond Nonnatus Cathedral in Joliet at the time of her arrest.
He spent 20 years as a teacher at the Catholic Academy in Joliet, which said in a statement that in June 2020 they learned of allegations online against Hylka. JCA said it immediately informed Joliet police and worked with the diocese regarding the investigation.
JCA officials said Hylka was put on leave and subsequently resigned.
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In a statement, the diocese said that Hylka was prohibited from working or volunteering for a diocesan school or parish, and that he had received information from various sources regarding alleged inappropriate communications with a minor.
“The diocese, the school and the parishes remain committed to a safe environment for all the children in our care,” the statement said.
Joliet police are encouraging all other victims to come forward.
FULL DECLARATION OF THE DIOCESE OF JOLIET:
“The Joliet Police Department announced late in the afternoon that a Will County judge had issued an arrest warrant for Jeremy M. Hylka for traveling to meet with a minor and seek treatment.” After learning about the allegations against Hylka yesterday, officials from the Diocese of Joliet terminated her employment. St. Joseph Catholic School in Lockport and St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church and St. Raymond Nonnatus Cathedral, both in Joliet. He is also prohibited from working or volunteering for a diocesan school or parish.
“We urge all those suspected of child abuse to report it to local law enforcement authorities and diocesan officials. We remain true to our commitment to providing a safe environment for all children in our care.
FULL DECLARATION OF THE JOLIET POLICE:
“The Joliet Police Department has been made aware of a video showing an adult who allegedly had inappropriate communication with a minor. Joliet police detectives have this video and an investigation is currently underway. Thank you for your Help No further information will be posted at this time.
“After further investigation by Joliet Police detectives, the Will County State Attorney’s Office reviewed the charges and a Will County judge issued an arrest warrant for Jeremy M Hylka in the amount of $ 100,000 for travel to meet a child and grooming charges. Thanks for the audience’s help. “
Joliet police were due to provide further details at a press conference later on Friday.
The Sun Times Wire contributed to this report
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