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updated: 7/5/2012 5:37 PM

Former teacher charged with "sexting" underage girl

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  • Jack K. Pickup

      Jack K. Pickup


A former Des Plaines middle schoolteacher was arrested after he texted a picture of his genitals to a 15-year-old girl who is a former student of his, the McHenry County Sheriff's office said.

Jack K. Pickup, 34, of the 100 block of East Liberty Street, Barrington, was arrested July 3 and charged with grooming and sexual exploitation of a child by members of the investigations division of the McHenry County Sheriff's office after the girl's parents reported that Pickup was communicating with their daughter via computer and text messages, the sheriff's office said in a news release.

The girl lives near McHenry, Lt. James Popovits said.

Pickup met the girl when she was in the seventh grade at Chippewa Middle School in Des Plaines, where he was a teacher. He started text messaging with the girl when she graduated eighth grade and had an online relationship with her since 2011, officials said.

Around June 24, Pickup began "sexting," or sending text messages with a sexual content to the victim, and sent the girl a picture of his genitals, officials said. Investigators arrested him at his parent's home in Barrington, which was listed as his address, Popovits said.

"We do encourage any parents to be involved with their children and be curious and be vigilant, and remind their children to be cautious of what you do in social media outlets," he said.

A message left at the phone number listed for Pickup's home was not returned Thursday.

Des Plaines Elementary District 62 officials were not available for comment. The school district offices are closed until Monday. Minutes from a District 62 board meeting in March 2011 show that Pickup was scheduled to resign the following June, but listed no reason for his resignation.

Grooming -- the act of befriending a child in order to prepare the child for sex or sexual exploitation or pornography -- is a class IV felony that carries a possible sentence of 1 to 3 years in prison; sexual exploitation of a child is a class A misdemeanor with a possible sentence of no more than one year in prison.

Pickup posted 10 percent of his $10,000 bond and was released from McHenry County Jail on Thursday morning, a jail official said. His next court hearing is scheduled for July 9.

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