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Former Antioch teacher admits to child porn charges
By Tony Gordon | Daily Herald Staff

Kenneth Lee Johnson

 

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Published: 4/22/2009 1:49 PM | Updated: 4/22/2009 4:24 PM

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A former teacher at Antioch Grade School pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography Wednesday in Lake County Circuit Court.

Kenneth Lee Johnson, 60, faces to four years in prison because of a plea agreement with prosecutors, but will also be eligible for probation.

Assistant State's Attorney Mary Stanton said Johnson came under investigation in January after the FBI notified local officials they suspected he had child pornography in his home computer.

On Jan. 20, police served a search warrant on Johnson's apartment in the 400 block of Main Street in Wauconda and found more than 1,000 photographs and 100 video clips of child pornography.

In addition to admitting he had collected the pornography, Johnson claimed to have molested as many as 75 boys during the past 35 years, police said.

Sheriff's investigators interviewed scores of people Johnson named, Stanton said, but were unable to confirm any abuse.

Antioch Elementary District 34 Superintendent Scott Thompson said officials appreciate Johnson took responsibility for his actions by resigning his position shortly after his arrest and pleading guilty.

However, Thompson said, many at District 34 remain troubled that the school system's reputation was marred and how an adult employee violated the trust children placed in him.

Thompson said he's been appointed to a commission with Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran and State's Attorney Michael Waller that will investigate ways to prevent teachers such as Johnson "from ever setting foot into a classroom."

"This work and other safety measures will be ongoing to ensure our schools are the safest places possible for children," Thompson said Wednesday.

Johnson had taught social studies at the Antioch school since 1989. He entered his plea during a hearing before Associate Judge Daniel Shanes, who scheduled a May 22 conference to set a sentencing date.

Johnson is held in the Lake County jail on $500,000 bond.