Ex-Buffalo Grove teacher, football coach pleads guilty to harassing student
A former Buffalo Grove High School math teacher and football coach was sentenced to two years of probation for harassing a 16-year-old female student last year.
Panagiotis Georgitsis, 44, of Elgin, pleaded guilty June 30 to one misdemeanor count of harassment through electronic means.
Besides probation, he was sentenced to six months of home confinement and is not allowed to teach or coach until 2019. Additionally, he must have no contact with the victim or her family, have sex offender and mental health evaluations, and pay $5,250 in restitution for the victim's counseling costs, as well as other court costs, according to Cook County prosecutors.
According to prosecutors, Georgitsis sent inappropriate text messages to a 16-year-old female student enrolled in his geometry class last fall. In December, he emailed her asking "if she could find it in her heart to send a smile and eye contact" his way, Cook County assistant state's attorney Lorna Amado-Chevlin said.
That same month, Georgitsis requested and received a hug from the girl after class, Amado-Chevlin said.
In January, after class ended, he stood over the girl's desk and handed her a note with options on how he should continue to communicate with her, Amado-Chevlin said. Uncomfortable and unsure how to respond, the girl scribbled what she believed was her illegible phone number, Amado-Chevlin said.
According to Amado-Chevlin, during January "the frequency and substance of the defendant's communications escalated and morphed into increasingly inappropriate content." That included texting the girl multiple times throughout the day starting as early as 6 a.m., Amado-Chevlin said.
The texts included inquiries about her father or male siblings, which Amado-Chevlin described as "thinly veiled attempts" to determine the girl's "personal vulnerabilities."
In mid-January, Georgitsis sent a lengthy communication in which he expressed his love for her, commenting on her beauty and describing himself as obsessed and unable to stop thinking of her, Amado-Chevlin said.
The girl told her parents, who contacted school officials and the police, Amado-Chevlin said.
A Northwest Suburban High School District 214 spokeswoman said the school placed Georgitsis on leave in late January after learning of the investigation. Georgitsis subsequently resigned.