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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Press Release

Friday, January 8, 2021

Former Teacher Sentenced to Four Years for Criminal Sexual Assault

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin announced today that on January 6, 2021, Judge Alex McGimpsey sentenced a former Joliet Central High School physics teacher to four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for sexually assaulting a female student at the high school. Thomas Connelly, 34 (d.o.b. 7/26/1986) of the 10500 block of W Campbell, Chicago, entered an agreed plea of guilty Wednesday to one count of Criminal Sexual Assault – Victim 13-17 and Defendant Held Position of Trust or Authority, a Class 1 Felony. On June 27, 2019, a $50,000 with 10% to apply arrest warrant was issued for Connelly. On July 8, 2019, Connelly turned himself in to authorities, posted the necessary 10%, or $5,000, and was released. Following Wednesday’s guilty plea, Connelly was immediately taken into custody to begin serving his sentence.  

Connelly’s sentence is the result of allegations that he, according to the indictment, “held, as a former teacher, a position of trust, authority, or supervision in relation to” the victim and engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with the victim. The inappropriate sexual behavior came to light after school staff overheard students talking about a student having a sexual relationship with a teacher. An investigation led by the Lemont Police Department revealed that Connelly engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with his victim in May, 2017 at a Naperville hotel.

“By pleading guilty, Mr. Connelly admitted that he used his position of trust and authority to engage in sexual activity with a female student,” Berlin said. “The four-year sentence he received for such behavior is certainly well-deserved, but in addition, the requirement that he must register as a sex offender for life upon his release from prison will ensure that he will never again be able to take advantage of young, innocent students again. I would like to thank the Lemont Police Department for their work on this case. I would also like to thank Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Rowe for her efforts in holding Mr. Connelly responsible for his behavior.”

Connelly will be required to serve 85% of his sentence before being eligible for parole.