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.
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.