Teacher charged with child porn

January 26, 2009 3:30:40 PM PST
A north suburban middle school teacher is charged with possessing child pornography. Sixty-year-old Kenneth Lee Johnson is a teacher at Antioch Upper Grade School. Authorities say their investigation is far from over. Johnson is charged with 10 counts of possessing child pornography. Now investigators are looking into whether any additional charges are warranted. That's because Johnson reportedly admitted to sexually abusing underage boys.

"The case is troubling when we think that this individual was in a position to mold the next generation's morals and values," said Sheriff Mark Curran, Lake County Sheriff.

The case against Kenneth Johnson, a 7th grade social studies teacher, has been building for a few weeks, ever since the FBI tipped off Lake County Sheriff's police that the 60-year-old was in possession of child pornography.

Investigators went to Johnson's home where they say he admitted to having the porn and let them search his apartment.

"In excess of 1,000 images and close to 100 video clips of child pornography have been discovered?males between the ages of infant to 15 years old," said Curran.

Detectives say, after further questioning, Johnson made another confession.

"He began to reveal that he sexually abused boys over the course of the last 35 years, dating back to 1974," said Curran.

According to detectives, Johnson said some of the victims are boys in the Wauconda area where he lives and the Antioch area where he has been a teacher at the upper grade school for 20 years.

Investigators have already spoken to some of the people Johnson says he abused, but no one has substantiated any of those claims.

"We don't know if it's all reality or some of it's fantasy, but we do believe that there are some victims out there," said George Manis, Lake County Sheriff's police.

Antioch School District 34 is making social workers available to students, parents and staff, and it encourages anyone who may be a victim to seek help.

"Though this is a tragic day for us and it puts a mar on our school district, we have a wonderful school district, and the building in which Mr. Johnson worked, there are wonderful staff. They will continue to care for kids, offer them and their parents support, and we will get through this," said Supt. Scott Thompson, Antioch School District 34.

Johnson is in the Lake County Jail with a $500,000 bond.

Superintendent Thompson says, if Johnson does not resign, the district will take steps to fire him. Thompson says, so far, it is not evident that any students were abused, but he is asking anyone who may be a victim to contact either the social workers or police.

Before coming to Antioch, Johnson was in Washington state, but authorities have not determined whether there are any victims there.