Substitute teacher charged with sex assault

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Joseph Gurzejk, 56, is charged with predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. (WLS)

Parents with children at an elementary school in LaGrange were stunned to learn a substitute teacher is charged with sexually assaulting a student.

Joseph Gurzejk, 56, is charged with predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He's accused of inappropriately touching a 10-year-old girl at LaGrange Highlands Elementary School while her classmates were at lunch on Monday.

Investigators said the alleged victim did the right thing in this incident: she told someone, and the school took action. It's hard for parents to stomach what investigators say happened in that classroom.

"How could you do that to a kid, period. You know? I don't know what makes people tick," said Janet Jones, a grandparent.

Investigators say Gurzejk told the girl not to tell anyone because it would jeopardize his job, but she did speak up.

"I am really concerned about it, it's about the safety of the kids," said Bonn Rodrigo, a parent.

Investigators say Gurzejk has been a frequent sub at the school since 2004.

The LaGrange Highlands District 106 superintendent sent a letter to parents notifying them of the alleged incident, saying: "The substitute teacher was immediately removed from the district's subbing list. As the police and DCFS investigate the allegation, the District is providing its full cooperation and support."

"It disturbs me to think that something may or may not have happened not just to one child, but who knows if there's other kids who may have had something involved with this teacher," said Mark Gojkovich, a parent.

Parents say they are now having another round of talks with their children about "good" and "bad" touch.

"I'll just have to teach him that it is not OK that anyone touches you. You have to tell an adult," said Arlene Swartz, a parent.

Gurzejk does not have a prior criminal record. He appeared in front of a judge Thursday, who set bond at $750,000. If he is bonds out, he's been told he may not have contact with any minors.

Gurzejk is due back in court for a hearing on Feb. 24.

Related Topics:
child sex assaultteacher arrestedLa Grange
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