A Chicago man and former high school teacher with ties to the Northwest suburbs has been charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse for allegedly maintaining an improper relationship with a female student in Palos Heights, authorities said.
Kenneth Martin, 34, of the 1500 block of West 83rd Place, was arrested by Palos Heights police on Monday. He appeared in court on Tuesday, and a Cook County judge set bond at $100,000.
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Police said that Martin, while a music teacher at Chicago Christian High School in Palos Heights, began sexual relationships with two students in 2009, one of whom was 16 years old at the time. Martin went by the name Kenneth Whitney when he worked at the school, police said.
Prior to working at Chicago Christian, a small private religious school, Martin worked as the choir director at Prospect High School in Mount Prospect. He was known by the last name Whitney there, too.
Venetia Miles, a spokeswoman for Northwest Suburban High School District 214, said Wednesday that Martin worked at Prospect from 2005 to 2008. Citing confidentiality rules, Miles declined to answer questions about his performance or conduct as an employee.
News reports from the time show that Martin quit his job at Prospect after a disagreement with administrators. He had broken a school rule by allowing two choir students who had been disciplined for code violations to dress for a concert. When administrators said Martin's pay would be docked, he resigned.
Martin was hired to replace former Prospect choir director Jason Krigas, who went to prison
after being convicted in 2006 of groping and fondling a female student.
Palos Heights police said Martin's relationship with the 16-year-old at Chicago Christian lasted for some time.
"The relationship began, beginning with texts and phone calls and video chats, and then they began meeting in person," said Palos Heights Police Deputy Chief Dave Delaney.
Police have found no evidence that any other students were involved, Delaney said.
Chicago Christian High School is a small private religious school. Superintendent Joel Satterly issued the following statement on the Martin arrest:
"As soon as school officials became aware of this allegation against our former employee, the matter was reported to the authorities and we have been cooperating with the investigation. The individual has not been employed by our school since 2009."
ABC 7 contributed to this report.