Friday, September 18, 2020
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Chicago teachers charged in sex crimes on kids

Two teachers who work within the Chicago Pubic Schools district have been charged in separate cases of soliciting sex with teenagers, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Zavala (via Chicago Police Department)

In one incident, a teacher at Lincoln Park High School on the city’s near-north side, stands accused of having sex with a 15-year-old boy he met on the Internet. Benjamin Zollo, 32, was arrested at the school on January 13.

In the other, Vianey Zavala, 44, of Orland Park, a teacher at UNO Soccer Academy, a charter elementary school on Chicago’s southwest side, has been charged with indecent solicitation and grooming a minor in connection with alleged communication she had over several years with a former student.

Grooming, a class 4 felony under Illinois law, means using computers or other online devices to solicit a minor.

The UNO charter school is within the Chicago Public School district, but it is run by a private company, the UNO Charter School Network. Lincoln Park High School is a traditional high school within Chicago. The school district is unable to comment on either investigation.

In both cases, the minors involved were boys in their early teens, but the cases are otherwise unrelated. Ms Zavala’s attorney was quoted as saying the charges are incorrect, and she is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The charges were filed based on communications discovered on the boy’s cellphone.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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