Former youth minister and Catholic grade school teacher in the Diocese of Joliet charged; SNAP reacts
Jeremy Hylka spent 20 years working at Joliet Catholic Academy. In June of 2020, a group called Alumni Coalition for Change at Joliet Catholic Academy reported that Hylka endorsed violence against BLM. It comes as no surprise to us that Hylka did not return to the JCA teaching faculty for the 2020-2021 school year. Instead, he reappeared as a teacher at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Lockport and also worked at Saint Paul the Apostle Catholic Church and Cathedral of Saint Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet.
Hylka was recently ousted from these positions after an arrest warrant was served on him after a video was given to authorities showing the teacher having inappropriate communication with a minor. The suspect, now hospitalized, will be held on a $100,000 bond when released to police. Hylka, now charged with multiple felonies by the Wills County State’s Attorney, is a classic example of why reports of child abuse should always go to civil authorities first and only then to the school or institution.
What is most concerning to us is Hylka spent decades teaching among the most vulnerable children. There may be more victims out there, given the time Hylka spent employed by Catholic institutions and his online behavior of trying to meet up with young boys. We encourage any other victims to come forward to authorities and anyone with information about these allegations should do the same.
"This made me think of the line from the movie SPOTLIGHT, 'They knew, and they let it happen,'" said Larry Antonsen, Chicago SNAP Leader.
The Diocese of Joliet failed to protect children, and not just those in their classrooms. We are particularly disappointed in the pastor's letter to families of St. Joseph's School. We feel that the statement again shows the Catholic Church minimizing reports of suspect abuse by using language like "alleged inappropriate communications" and "purported minor." After all these years of scandal, we would think they would know better.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager (267-261-0578), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected]), Larry Antonsen, Chicago Snap Leader (773-255-3382
(SNAP, the Survivors Network has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)