UPDATE 2:09 p.m.
Dr. Michael Smith, Superintendent of Mt. Vernon Township High School released a statement on the arrest of Kevin Battas:
On Thursday, February 4, 2016, Mt Vernon TWP. High School District 201 was informed that a current employee Kevin Battas was arrested on February 3rd for indecent solicitation of a child and grooming of an individual outside of the immediate Mt. Vernon area. While there is no indication that students or children in Jefferson County have been involved, upon receiving this information, the district has initiated its own internal investigation related to this matter. As part of this investigation, the district has secured all school related technology devices and access of this individual. The district has also initiated a third party audit of all technology related activities of this individual since the beginning of the school year. To assist the district in this process, if any individual may have additional information or concerns related to this matter please contact the district office immediately at: 618-246-5909 or report anonymously at 1-800-843-5678 which can be found at mvths.org under SRO or internet safety tabs.
TROY, Ill. - A math teacher from Mt. Vernon High School is accused of using social media to contact and solicit an eighth grader.Kevin W. Battas, 25, was arrested Wednesday by Troy police and charged with indecent solicitation of a child and grooming.
Police say Battas is accused of offering to perform sexual acts on the child he met through the anonymous social media app Whisper.
The investigation revealed that Battas committed Indecent Solicitation of a Child because he knowingly discussed an act of sexual conduct with a minor and offered to perform sexual acts upon the minor, according to a news release from the Troy Police Department. The solicitation of the minor was done using a smart phone or similar device so Battas was also charged with Grooming.
“Smart phones and social media apps have created new avenues for predators to contact and solicit children,” said Troy Police Chief Brad Parsons. “As parents we need to be aware of what our children are doing on their phones and who they are communicating with. We’re lucky that in this case we were able to intervene before any of the acts could be carried out.”
Indecent Solicitation of a Child is a class 3 felony and carries a sentence of imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than five years. Grooming is a class 4 felony and carries a sentence of imprisonment of not less than one year and not more than 3 years.
Battas was taken into custody February 3 and was being held at the Madison County Jail on a $150,000 bond.
The Mt. Vernon Police Department posted the information on its Facebook page. There is no indication any children in the Jefferson County area having been involved with Battas. However, police encourage the public to contact the Mt Vernon Police Department or Mt Vernon High School if there are any concerns of inappropriate behaviors by Battas.
The Mt Vernon Police Department can be reached at 242-2131 and the Mt Vernon High School can be reached at 244-3700. Additionally, you can leave anonymous tips through the Mt Vernon High School Cyber Tipline at 1-800-843-5678.
Whisper is a free mobile app, which allows users to send messages anonymously and to receive replies. Users post messages which are displayed as text superimposed over an image.