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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Former Elementary Teacher Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Student Had 25 Nude Photos Of Student On His Phone, Prosecutors Allege

Jason Gil, 42, a former Waters Elementary teacher in Lincoln Square, was ordered to remain in Cook County Jail without bond.

Jason Gil
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SKOKIE — A former Lincoln Square elementary school teacher charged with sexually assaulting a student had 25 nude photos of the student on his phone when he was arrested earlier this year, prosecutors alleged in court Friday.

Prosecutors used that detail as part of their argument why Jason Gil, 42, should remain behind bars until his trial. Three other judges have denied bond to Gil, but the fourth judge on the case, Aleksandra Gillespie, agreed to a new bond hearing.

It ended the same as the others: Gil was ordered held in Cook County Jail without bond. The judge said he poses a “real and present threat” to the community and the minor he’s accused of abusing.

Gil, a former teacher at Waters Elementary School, is charged with felony counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, criminal sexual assault, solicitation to meet a child, solicitation of child pornography, possession of child pornography, distribution of harmful materials and grooming, according to court documents. 

At Friday’s hearing at the Skokie courthouse, Barry Sheppard, Gil’s attorney, argued that pretrial bond reforms Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans put into effect in 2017 should apply to his client. Specifically, because Gil was not being charged with homicide or “capital” crimes, he should be allowed to be released on bond. 

“Obviously the charges are sensitive,” Sheppard said. But in addition to being kept away from his family, preparing a defense for the case is “difficult” while his client is in pretrial lockup, he said.

“A case like this is best able to be prepared for” out of jail, he said, and acknowledged that if bond were to be granted it would likely be high. But Sheppard stressed Gil would not be a flight risk.

As his attorney addressed the judge, Gil stood next to him wearing a beige department of corrections jumpsuit with his hands behind his back. He didn’t speak but on his way out looked back at family and a few supporters in the audience.

Gil’s family and supporters declined comment after the hearing.

During the hearing, prosecutors referred the judge to a text message Gil reportedly sent to the minor saying, “Having sex with you is the best thing ever.” Prosecutors also alleged 25 photographs of the naked minor were found on Gil’s phone and that he had sex with his former student on at least two instances.  

Sheppard countered that the child pornography Gil is accused of possessing are only of the minor referenced in the criminal complaint and not anyone else. He understood the case had “dynamite charges” because a minor is involved, but stressed the previous judges he’d asked to consider bond for his client had misread Chief Judge Evans’ bond reform order. 

Judge Gillespie then told Sheppard she had the order in front of her, understood it, and that it allows her to hold Gil without bond. 

Gil took advantage of his “trusted” position as an educator to abuse the minor, prosecutors argue.

Gil, of the 3000 block of North Kostner Avenue, was a bilingual math teacher at Waters. He’s accused of grooming and sexually abusing a minor he once taught — and later tutored after school — from at least 2016 until this year.

Gil reportedly kissed the student in a classroom, asked her to send naked pictures of herself to him, and was engaged in “sexual activity” with the girl in his car and at her home when parents weren’t home over that period, prosecutors say.  

A friend of the victim reportedly found out about the relationship between Gil and the minor. The mother of the friend then reported the relationship to Skokie police, prosecutors said. 

Gil was removed from his teaching position with CPS after he was taken into custody by Skokie Police on Feb. 10.

Gil pleaded not guilty on March 26.

On July 11, more than 150 parents, teachers and neighbors from the Waters Elementary community signed a petition asking Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to not offer him a plea deal for a reduced punishment.

And during Friday’s hearing, a group of parents from Waters Elementary were sitting in the back row of the courtroom. They’ve pledged to have parents present at each hearing as the trial unfolds. 

“We are relieved that bond was denied,” said Amy Yoder, one of the parents at Friday’s hearing. “It’s clear that all CPS families and staff have a stake in this case. We are grateful that the court recognizes the gravity of the crimes.” 

Yoder said she and other Waters parents have great empathy for the school community who are shaken by this case.

During Friday’s hearing, both Sheppard and prosecutors told the judge they were still in the discovery process for the case. The Chicago Public Schools district still needs to respond to a subpoena from the court, prosecutors said.  

After his arrest earlier this year, Gil was removed from his teaching position and CPS’s Office of the Inspector General began its own investigation.

Earlier this month Emily Bolton, a CPS spokesperson, said its investigation is still ongoing and to the best of the district’s knowledge, the allegations do not involve a student currently enrolled at a CPS school. 

Gil is expected to appear at the Skokie courthouse again Aug. 28.

RELATED COVERAGE:

Don’t Go Easy On Teacher Accused Of Molesting Student, Waters Elementary School Parents Urge Prosecutors

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