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Lakemoor man charged with child porn

A middle school teacher from Lakemoor was arrested on allegations that he received child pornography and persuaded a teenage boy to produce pornographic images of himself.

John C. Vastis, 51, was taken into custody early Thursday morning without incident. He’s charged with two counts of producing child pornography and one count of receiving child pornography. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 15 years behind bars.

Vastis is a teacher at Meridian Middle School in Buffalo Grove. Authorities say none of the allegations involved children he taught and they don’t believe Vastis targeted them.

According to the criminal complaint filed in federal court in Chicago, Vastis and a boy who was 16 years old at the time had been communicating through Skype and text messages starting in September 2013. Authorities who analyzed data from the teen’s computer and cellphone recovered more than 3,200 lines of chat messages between the boy and Vastis, Department of Homeland Security officials said in a news release.

In conversations with the boy, Vastis asked him to send images of himself in sexually explicit poses, and he complied. The boy also sent Vastis a video containing child pornography depicting other children.

Agents from the Department of Homeland Security had executed a search warrant of the teen’s home earlier this month because he was suspected of possessing and distributing child pornography. His information led authorities to Vastis.

Lakemoor police assisted in executing the search and arrest warrants Thursday at Vastis’ home. Police Chief David Godlewski said the department had no previous contact with Vastis.

The arrest was part of Homeland Security’s Operation Predator, which targets sex crimes against children.

Vastis remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing that was set for Tuesday.

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