A Cook County judge Friday set bail at $300,000 for a former substitute elementary school lunchroom supervisor from Streamwood who police say "initiated inappropriate communications" with a 9-year-old girl.
Police learned of the contact on Tuesday and subsequently charged Peter Surges, 53, of the 0-100 block of E. Pine Street, with two counts of stalking, a class 4 felony punishable by one to three years in prison. Probation is also an option.
Surges was dismissed Wednesday from his job at Oakhill Elementary School after police alerted school officials of the charges against him, Elgin Area School District U-46 spokesman Patrick Mogge said.
Saying the defendant's behavior had escalated, prosecutors had requested Cook County Judge Jill Cerone Marisie set bail at $1 million.
Marisie granted prosecutors' request that Surges have no unsupervised contact with anyone under 18 and that he be outfitted with a GPS monitor if he makes bail. Additionally, Marisie prohibited Surges from working or volunteering at any school or agency involved in caring for or monitoring children under 18.
Surges' family and the girl's family knew each other, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Maria McCarthy during his bond hearing in Rolling Meadows.
Since 2010, he has written the girl 40 to 50 notes claiming "he loved her and that her body was sexy," said McCarthy, adding that Surges told the girl not to tell anyone about the notes. McCarthy said Surges admitted to police that he gave the girl a poem in which he praised her voice, hair, smile and eyes.
McCarthy also described a story Surges wrote for the girl about a bear who loved a girl monkey, which he told police was about him and the girl. The bear repeatedly threatened to eat the monkey who responded by hugging, kissing and snuggling with him, McCarthy said.
"The bear is the symbol used internationally by pedophiles who call the symbol a 'pedobear' as in pedophile," said McCarthy.
Police recovered the handwritten, 21-page story from the defendant's home.
Surges recently knocked on her bedroom window to scare her and later told her she should make sure to close the blinds before changing, McCarthy said.
Surges began working for U-46 in March 2010 and served as lunchroom supervisor in nine schools during his tenure, Mogge said.
Defense attorney Brad Gielio described his client as an avuncular man who had volunteered in the community. Gielio also pointed out that Surges has not been charged with solicitation or physical contact with a minor, only written communication.
Surges next appears in court on Nov. 27.