CHICAGO (CBS)–Former Highland Park teacher Mathew Joseph Laird is facing child pornography charges after Glenview police seized several hundred child pornographic images and videos on a laptop and two flash drives. The images and videos included some children as young as 3-years-old a well as former female high school students.
Laird, 32, of Glenview, was arrested Wednesday. According to Glenview police, detectives seized several hundred child pornographic images and videos on a laptop and two flash drives.
Laird is charged with one count of dissemination of child pornography, one count of possession of child pornography, criminal sexual assault or both position or authority as well as non-consensual and one count of non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images. Two of the charges include children under the age of 13, according to police.
In a statement released Wednesday, North Shore Academy’s superintendent said Laird was placed on administrative leave and banned from campus on Sept. 18th after police informed school officials Laird was under investigation for “internet crimes against children.”
On Oct. 10, Laird was fired from North Shore Academy after not cooperating with the school district’s internal investigation. He was a former teacher at Loyola Academy in Wilmette from 2011 to 2014 and was a coach at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire. All three schools were alerted of the charges against Laird.
Police were alerted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that Laird had uploaded child pornographic images to an adult website.
According to Glenview police, detectives seized several hundred pornographic images in Laird’s home depicting minors.
A Cook County judge at the Skokie Courthouse Wednesday said Laird posed a “real and present threat” to the community and ordered him held without bail.
A former student alleges that Laird had sex with her on multiple occasions while she was a minor, according to prosecutors. Based on the timeline, Laird was a teacher at Loyola Academy at the time.
“The sexual conduct took place at various locations including private residences as well as on school grounds,” Andreana Turano said. “During this time period, the defendant often provided alcohol and repeatedly told the minor victim to not let anyone know about the sexual relationship because of the position of trust and authority he held over her.”
Loyola Academy officials released a statement acknowledging Laird’s past employment with the school, and explaining the steps they are taking to alert former students.
“At this point, it is unknown to us whether or to what extent any former Loyola student has been impacted, but we are continuing to cooperate fully with the Glenview Police Department in its ongoing investigation of this matter,”according to officials at Loyola Academy.