Feds: Buffalo Grove teacher allegedly coaxed teen into taking pornographic pictures

A middle school teacher in Buffalo Grove was arrested Tuesday on the first day of school in a federal child pornography bust.

John Vastis, 51, who teaches at Meridian Middle School, allegedly coaxed a 16-year-old boy into taking pornographic pictures of himself and sending them to him over the Internet.

The boy was not a student of Vastis’s, and prosecutors say there are no allegations that he sexually exploited any students.

Wearing an inside out T-shirt and flip flops, a stunned-looking Vastis, of Lakemoor, was warned in U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole’s courtroom Thursday morning that he faces a minimum of 15 years behind bars if convicted.

He was ordered held in custody at least until a detention hearing Tuesday.

Known as “Pete,” Vastis allegedly met his now 17-year-old accuser a year ago on Skype. Computer records show he had more than 3,200 lines of chat messages with the boy, who was suspected of possessing and distributing child pornography, a criminal complaint alleges.

The boy identified Vastis after the feds raided the boy’s home on Aug. 15, the complaint states.

Charged with the sexual exploitation of a minor, Vastis allegedly twice persuaded the boy on Jan. 18 and March 3 to produce pornographic images of himself and send them to Vastis. Vastis is also charged with receiving a video containing child pornography on July 13.

The investigation was led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

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