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Former High School Teacher Sentenced 7 Years for Enticing Minor on MySpace

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2008

Peoria, Ill. - A former Peoria, Illinois teacher who admitted she used the Internet to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity was sentenced today. Jodi Elizabeth Church, 27, of the 5900 block of N. Tampico, Peoria, Illinois, was ordered to serve 84 months in federal prison and remain on supervised release for life following her release from prison, as announced by Rodger A. Heaton, U. S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois.

Church was arrested and charged in a federal criminal complaint nearly one year ago, on March 8, 2007. On August 17, 2007, Church pled guilty to the offense.

During an Internet chat with a minor on MySpace on December 9, 2006, Church attempted to solicit the minor for sexual activity. At the time, Church had been employed as a behavioral teacher at Peoria’s Manual High School for approximately four years.

The investigation was conducted by law enforcement agencies participating in the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s CyberCrime Unit (CICU) based in Peoria with the cooperation of Peoria Public School District 150 and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The CICU is a multi-agency group dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of computer crime. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas A. Keith.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, created in February 2006 as a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit: www.projectsafechildhood.gov

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