$1 million bail for St. Charles teacher in child porn case
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A DeKalb County judge set bail at $1 million Tuesday for a St. Charles middle school teacher charged with five counts each of possession and distribution of child pornography, according to Sycamore police and the DeKalb County jail.
Jerome McCauley, 45, a seventh-grade teacher at Wredling Middle School, was placed on administrative leave after he was arrested around 6 a.m. Monday, according to Sycamore police and St. Charles District 303 officials.
McCauley must post $100,000 to be released while his case is pending. His next court date is Nov. 13.
Sycamore Police Detective Sgt. Rod Swartzendruber Tuesday said authorities executed a search warrant Monday at McCauley's home in the 300 block of Grant Street. Police seized computers and hard drives, which will be sent to a lab for a forensic examination that could lead to more charges.
The most serious charge against McCauley carries a prison term of six to 30 years if convicted with no possibility of probation. Other charges have penalties ranging from probation to seven years in prison.
Swartzendruber said a Sycamore officer assigned to an Internet crimes unit discovered an IP, or Internet Protocol, address linked to a file sharing network for child pornography in August. Officers investigated, tied the address to McCauley, and obtained the search warrant.
The five counts of possession and distribution of child pornography stem from McCauley sharing child pornography over the network, Swartzendruber said.
"In essence, he was making it available to others (through the file sharing network)," Swartzendruber said. "Possibly more charges are pending after (the forensic examination). There's definitely more than five (images). I don't have an exact number."
District 303 Superintendent Don Schlomann said school officials do not believe any of the children depicted in the pornography were former or current Wredling Middle School students.
"I have no knowledge other than what I've heard from the police," he said Monday. "They don't have any reason to believe at this point (Wredling students were involved)."
McCauley, a teacher at Wredling for 19 years, no longer has access to District 303 property, according to a statement sent to parents.
On Wredling's website, McCauley is listed as a science and social studies teacher, as well as a seventh-grade girls' volleyball coach and the sponsor for Club Comix and the Game Club.
"Right now, our No. 1 thing is student safety and making sure that our students feel safe to be at school," Schlomann said. "We're bringing in counselors (Tuesday) morning to talk to students if they have questions."
Schlomann encouraged anyone who may have any information to come forward.
"While we don't have any reason to believe that there's anything out there, I'm always skeptical in these situations, and we want to know," Schlomann said. "I want people to feel comfortable calling and letting us know."
Contact his office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (331) 228-2000. Sycamore police can be reached at (815) 895-3435.
• Daily Herald staff writer Sara Hooker contributed to this story.
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