A suburban Chicago school district has put a middle school principal on leave after re-opening their investigation into lewd text messages and images allegedly sent through his work cell phone to a college student in 2008.
John Steinert, Deer Path Middle School principal, pleaded guilty in 2009 to one count of harassment by electronic communication after he admitted to using a school district cell phone to send vulgar, harassing text messages and photographs of his genitals to a 22-year-old college student after she came into the Lake Forest, Ill. school as part of an internship with the Lake Forest Police Department, the Lake Forester reports.
At the time, Steinert, who is married, was reprimanded by the school district, told to seek counseling and faced a temporary salary freeze, according to CBS Chicago. He was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge and 80 hours of community service in addition to a $300 fine.
That punishment, district superintendent Harry Griffith told the Chicago Tribune, was based on a heavily redacted police report Gurnee police issued the district in 2009. The report did not include detailed information on the texts and voice mails, many of which were sexually explicit, repeatedly asking if the woman wanted to meet up with him somewhere to have sex.
A police report indicates he called the woman nearly 30 times in May and June and another 40 times in late December and early January, according to the Tribune. He also reportedly asked her about pornography and sex toys during a meeting at school once. The woman says she never gave her phone number to Steinert and repeatedly asked him to stop contacting her. In response, he reportedly replied, "Stop being a tease."
According to the Lake Forester, Steinert has worked with the district for six years. The Illinois State Board of Education is also reportedly looking into how the incident was originally investigated.
The district e-mailed parents to alert them to Steinert going on leave Thursday evening. The message, obtained by GazeboNews, states that "as a result of this new information, Mr. Steinert has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending a review of this detailed information."