A former Cook County elementary school teacher has been sentenced to 10 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for possession of child pornography.
Andrew Clarke, 29, of the 100 block of Golfview Drive, Glendale Heights, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography, a Class 2 felony, on Jan. 19 before Judge John Kinsella, according to a DuPage County State's Attorney's Office news release.
He was sentenced to five years on each count, with the sentences to run consecutively, the release stated.
Clarke was out on bond after posting $20,000 of his $200,000 bond, and he was immediately taken into custody following the Jan. 19 court appearance, according to the release.
In January 2016, as part of an ongoing investigation into the possession and dissemination of child pornography, authorities with the Illinois Children’s Advocacy Centers, with assistance from the Elmhurst and Glendale Heights police departments, identified a computer in DuPage County that was downloading files containing child pornography, the release stated. Through the course of their investigation, detectives were led to Clarke, and it was discovered he was in possession of images containing child pornography, according to the release.
Authorities also learned during their investigation that while Clarke was employed as a teacher, he videotaped himself masturbating into the shoes of children who were students at the school where he worked, the release stated. He would then leave the shoes at the school for the children to claim upon their return, according to the release.
Of the images Clarke possessed, none of them contained children from the school where he had worked, the release stated.
“Child pornography is not a victimless crime and what occurred in this case is beyond disgusting,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in the release. “Every time one of these images is downloaded or shared on the Internet, child pornography claims another young, innocent victim. To protect these innocent victims, my office stands ready to vigorously prosecute any allegations of child pornography."
Clarke will be required to serve 50 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole, according to the release. In addition, he will be required to register for life as a sex offender once he is released.