By Pamela Rensing
WHITE COUNTY — Officials are reporting that Jonathan Villmer, a New Baden Elementary first grade teacher, was arrested on Friday, Aug. 18, following a Carmi Police investigation into child pornography and indecent solicitation of a child online.
According to a report from Carmi Police Chief Jason Carter, Carmi Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigators, Homeland Security Agents, and the New Baden Police Department, executed a search warrant at 6 a.m. Friday morning at Villmer’s home in the 400 block of North 9th Street in New Baden.
Villmer was interviewed by Homeland Security Agents and Carmi Police investigators following a search of the home. He was placed under arrest by Federal agents for the enticement of a minor and child pornography-related offenses.
Villmer is a first grade teacher at New Baden Elementary School and a Junior High School Softball coach and Junior Varsity Girls Basketball Coach at Wesclin Community Unit School District 3.
In a statement released by Wesclin School Superintendent Jennifer Filylaw said, “Law enforcement has shared that, at this time, there is no information suggesting that any current or former Wesclin students are involved in this matter, nor that any of this alleged activity was conducted on District computers or our internet network.
“Mr. Villmer has been placed on indefinite administrative leave. The District will review information shared by law enforcement through their ongoing investigation, which will inform our decision-making regarding Mr. Villmer’s future employment status.
“The safety and security of our students, staff and schools is and will always be our top priority. We conduct fingerprint-based criminal background checks and cross-referencing of state and national sexual and violent offender registries as a part of our pre-employment process. All faculty and staff must comply with District policies on ethics and technology use and attend training regarding the parameters of appropriate conduct with minor students during and outside of the school day, including a teacher’s use of social media, as well as other topics related to maintaining a safe school environment. All staff members are mandated reporters to the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) and we provide annual training to all staff on this responsibility.
“If your child has had regular contact with Mr. Villmer, I suggest that you discuss this matter with them directly, so they hear from you that he is gone from the classroom and under investigation. On Monday, District psychologists, social workers and therapists will be available in each of our school buildings to provide support to students and staff as needed.
“If you have specific information or concerns about this matter, please contact me directly at 618.830.0990 or you can email me at email@example.com. I will be available this evening and throughout the weekend as we are working to make plans for a smooth transition for students in Mr. Villmer’s class and for our girl’s softball team. I will share additional information with families of these students as plans are finalized.”
Villmer is being held in the Clinton County Jail pending a court hearing.