School Teacher Charged with Sexual Assault, Child Porn Solicitation

The Cook County Sheriff's Office alleges Griffin 'engaged in sexual conduct' with a boy enrolled at the school beginning when he was 15 years old in 2013.
Cook County Sheriff's Office

An Illinois kindergarten teacher was arrested Monday and is now facing charges of sexual assault and solicitation of child pornography.

Shannon Griffin, 49, is a teacher at Jordan Baptist School and wife of Thomas Griffin, the pastor at Jordan Baptist Church. Two of their daughters are also employed as teachers at the school.

Griffin’s attorney said the family will begin efforts to raise the $750,000 bond required for her release.

The Cook County sheriff’s office said in a statement that the teacher “engaged in sexual conduct” with a male student and was also accused of sending nude photos and videos of herself to that student and another juvenile at the school. Reports state that she allegedly asked both minors to send her images of themselves.

Authorities said one of the male students told them he received messages from Griffin of a woman “removing her clothing and exposing her breasts and vagina,” police records said.

However, detectives noted that the images did not show “a visible head or face of the female.”

Yhaneera Aparicio-Armas, a student who graduated from the private school in 2014, said she remembered how Griffin always wanted to be close to one of the male students.

“She would be really close to him. She would put her arm on him and she would sit too close to him, especially when we would have chapel,” she recalled.

“It was really kind of what disturbed me, because I was like ‘Ew, I hung out with you,’ we did all this, hung out, talking to each other,” Aparicio-Armas commented.

Cook County’s First Deputy Chief Marlon Parks said he expects schools to be safe environments for the children in his area.

“When you’re a teacher, you’re looked up, and what has taken place here is devastating to me as a parent,” he said. “When I drop my kids off at school, I expect a certain type of result, and this is not the result that these parents or these family members ever could think of.”

Sandy Cabrera, whose daughters previously attended the school, said she felt relieved that authorities had arrested Griffin.

“I’m glad that they’ve finally decided to do something about this so it doesn’t happen to other children. You pay tuition to put your kids in private education … to protect them,” she said.

Griffin is due to appear in bond court on Wednesday.

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