Former Clerk for Chicago Transit Authority Retirement Plan Sentenced to a Year in Prison for Fraudulently Obtaining $356,000 in Plan Funds
CHICAGO — A former middle school teacher was sentenced today to 13 years in federal prison for accessing child pornography involving a prepubescent minor and encouraging minors to produce sexually explicit images of themselves.
JOHN C. VASTIS began communicating online with one of the victims in 2013. From the outset, the chats were sexually charged. For nearly a year Vastis encouraged the victim to record sexually explicit photos and videos of himself and transmit the images over the internet to Vastis. Several of the images depicted the victim’s private areas. Vastis also admitted in a plea agreement that he watched child pornography involving another victim and possessed images of a prepubescent boy performing a sex act on an adult male.
Vastis, 54, of Lakemoor, pleaded guilty last year to one count of accessing child pornography with the intent to view. U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp Jr. imposed the sentence in federal court in Chicago.
The sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and James M. Gibbons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. The Lakemoor Police Department, Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Buffalo Grove Police Department provided assistance in the case.
Vastis was arrested in August 2014. He previously worked as a teacher at Meridian Middle School in Aptakisic-Tripp District 102 in Buffalo Grove. The school district cooperated with the investigation, and there were no allegations of sexual exploitation of Vastis’ students.
The investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Victims of sexual exploitation are encouraged to call HSI’s toll-free tip line at (866) 347-2423, or logon to https://www.ice.gov/predator for further information.
The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Streicker.