A Beverly resident who previously lived in Lemont was charged with having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student he taught two years ago at Joliet Central High School (JCHS), according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Lemont Police Department (LPD).
Thomas Connelly, 32, of the 10500 block of South Campbell Avenue, was charged with a felony count of criminal sexual assault on May 28, after, according to prosecutors, he turned himself in to the LPD, accompanied by his attorney.
According to authorities, Connelly began the relationship with the girl, a student he taught in physics class and coached on the school’s robotics team, in March 2017.
The two communicated through phone, text and social media, prosecutors said, and multiple times, Connelly allegedly picked the teen up in an alley behind her home.
The two drove to Connelly’s home in Lemont, prosecutors said, and engaged in sexual activity. Prosecutors said they engaged in similar activity in a hotel outside Cook County and in Connelly’s car, and Connelly provided the teen with marijuana that they smoked together.
The two allegedly engaged in similar activities about 20 times in the relationship that lasted about five months.
In November 2018, prosecutors said, a JCHS staff member overheard students discussing the relationship, and the teen had confided in other students about the relationship.
The staff member informed school administrators, prosecutors said, and police were notified.
Connelly was placed on administrative leave, and the investigation began.
According to reports, Connelly was directed to meet with school district officials on Jan. 15, but instead, he resigned that day.
Connelly was issued a bond of $10,000 when he appeared in Cook County Circuit Court in Bridgeview on May 29 and forbidden to have contact with anyone under 18.
According to prosecutors, Connelly has no criminal background.
His next court date is June 27.