CHICAGO (WLS) --A Lincoln Park High School teacher is charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old boy.
Investigators said Benjamin Zollo, 32, met the boy online sometime in September-October 2015. The alleged sexual abuse, which took place over several months, began after a month of online communication.
Police said the alleged victim is not a student at the school.
"This is nothing to do with any student that he has ever taught," said Marc Davidson, Zollo's attorney. "This is completely out of character, these allegations. He is just a very distinguished individual."
The teen confessed the allegations to his father on Jan. 1 after his father confronted him for sneaking out the house the night before. Investigators said the victim spent New Year's Eve at Zollo's home.
"You never know who is teaching or who is working in your school," said Donna Noble, a parent.
Although it was Zollo's first year teaching at the school, he has been a teacher for eight years.
Lincoln Park High School sent parents an email notifying them of the criminal investigation and that the teacher is no longer in the classroom.
"He doesn't need to be in an environment with any young people obviously if what they said might be true," said Scott Veloria, a parent.
"Chicago Public Schools takes allegations of criminal activity by its employees very seriously. Due to the ongoing law enforcement investigation, we cannot comment further at this time," Chicago Public Schools said in a statement.