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One day after authorities charged a former Grayslake Community High School teacher with molesting a student at the school, a teacher at Warren Township High School in Gurnee faced charges Wednesday, accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old student.
In both cases authorities tracked the alleged criminal activities of the teachers through e-mail and cell phone conversations with the students, said Pat Fix, chief of the cybercrimes unit of the Lake County state's attorney's office.
"Text messaging has in fact revolutionized the way teenagers communicate, and we've been fortunate we've been able to retrieve some of those conversations, which has broken cases for us," Fix said.
During a hearing Wednesday in Circuit Court in Waukegan, Associate Judge Valerie Ceckowski set bail at $100,000 for James R. Lobitz, 36, an English teacher and athletic coach at Warren who allegedly abused a member of the girls track team.
On Tuesday, bail was set at $50,000 for Jason Glick, 36, an English teacher who resigned from Grayslake last month after authorities launched an investigation of e-mail exchanges he had with a 17-year-old student using a high school computer.
In both cases the students initially denied involvement with the teachers but eventually provided statements to authorities when confronted with transcripts of sexually explicit e-mails and text-message conversations they had with the men, Fix said.
In prepared statements, school officials at both Warren and Grayslake said they are cooperating fully with police while continuing to provide a safe environment for students and staff. Both teachers resigned after authorities opened investigations into their conduct.
Lobitz, a 12-year employee at Warren whose wife also works at the school, allegedly had sex with the student at various locations, including inside the high school, the girl's house and his house in the 2700 block of Hancock Court in Lindenhurst, officials said.
On one occasion Lobitz's wife arrived home while the two were allegedly engaged in sexual activity in the residence, authorities said.
"When the wife came in, the student hid and ran out of the house," Fix said.
School officials contacted Gurnee police about Lobitz in January after a janitor reported that he had seen the teacher and student engaged in sexual behavior in a darkened classroom during the district's winter break.
After authorities questioned the student, now 17, she deleted instant-message computer conversations she had been having with the teacher in an apparent attempt to hide the two-month relationship.
But when later confronted with transcripts of conversations with numerous references to sex acts between the two, which authorities had retrieved from the student's computer, the girl acknowledged the relationship, Fix said.
In one recovered text message, Lobitz seems to acknowledge that he knows the relationship with the teenager violates the law, Fix said.
"My problem is, I could be honest and say there is another woman, but assuming that is you, I'm going to jail and getting fired," Fix quoted from the transcripts.
Lobitz was arrested at his home Tuesday by police, who confiscated his laptop computer, cell phone, digital camera and other items. He faces six counts of criminal sexual assault, a Class 1 felony, and seven counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a Class 2 felony. The Class 1 charges carry a minimum 4-year prison term and 15-year maximum, Fix said.
In the case involving Glick, authorities charged the Kenosha resident Tuesday with six counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse after District 127 officials expressed concern to police about activities between Glick and a 17-year-old member of Grayslake's drama club.
After a club field trip to Chicago in December, witnesses observed Glick kissing the girl in his car in the school parking lot in January, and he allegedly fondled her on at least two other outings in Grayslake and Libertyville, authorities said.
While 17 is the age of consent in Illinois, criminal charges could be filed because Glick was in a position of trust and authority over the student, Fix said.
Glick and the girl each denied engaging in sexual activity when initially questioned by police, Fix said. But after cell phone text messages and e-mails describing the relationship were retrieved from a high school computer, the teenager confirmed the sexual activity, Fix said.
Glick, the married father of a toddler, was placed on a 24-hour curfew and ordered not to have contact with the student or anyone under 17 as a condition of his bail.
Attorneys for each of the defendants declined to comment.
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