NEWTON, Ill. – An Illinois teacher’s aide is facing felony charges after allegedly performing some type of sex act in a school classroom with students present.
Newton City Police arrested teacher’s aide Stephen F. Ochs, 63, at Newton Community High School after an alleged sexual incident around 1:25 p.m. Wednesday. Police have not described what allegedly occurred, but said he was working as a teacher’s aide at the school when he engaged in a sexual act “with knowledge that a child or children would view his acts,” the Effingham Daily News reports.
Ochs is a lifelong local resident without a criminal history.
“It’s a terrible shock,” Jasper County State’s Attorney Kevin Parker said in a prepared statement. “This guy has been in the school system for some time.”
Newton superintendent Dan Cox said “I’m saddened about the disruption and upset feelings this caused our students and staff.”
Cox told the Olney Daily Mail school officials called police as soon as the alleged misconduct was reported and officers responded right away.
Ochs suspended from the school with further disciplinary action expected as the police investigation continues, the Daily News reports.
Ochs had worked at the school since January 2002 and passed a background check required by the Illinois School Code.
He faces one felony count for sexual exploitation of a child and one charge of official misconduct, the Effingham Daily News reports.
Ochs, who remained in jail on a $100,000 bond after his arraignment Thursday, faces a possible five years in prison for the official misconduct charge, and a potential three-year sentence for the child exploitation charge.
“I would like to thank the Newton Police Department for their professional response,” Cox said, adding that the school made counselors available to students who may have been traumatized by Ochs’ alleged actions. “Now we are ready to move on with the healing process.”