A former Bethalto teacher pleaded guilty last week to serious crimes against young boys shortly after he was arrested, reports The Telegraph.
Jason Ehlers, 38, is currently in the Madison County Jail awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to aggravated criminal sexual assault of a child and aggravated criminal sexual assault, in addition to other crimes.
A former friend of Ehlers expressed that many were shocked at the news: ““He was always smiling and seemed to fit in just like a regular guy, good families, kids, home, happy, friends with everyone. People felt like they lost a loved one. They thought they knew him not knowing what he was doing, but fully trusting him with their children. You’re mad but also sad. He seemed like a good father. That’s why people trusted him more. You never know.”
Ehlers was initially charged back in April of last year, after one of his victims told a Triad School District counselor about what Ehlers had done to him in the baseball if a home in Bethalto.
Ehlers was an administrator at the Southwestern School District, a teacher at the Bethalto School District and a teacher at Triad School District.
According to authorities, Ehlers performed acts of sexual penetration with a child under the age of 13 between Sept. 2010 and March 2011. He also pleaded guilty to have sex with a male under the age of 18 between July 2011 and July 2012.
It is not uncommon for trusted adults to abuse that trust that so many have in them to commit such horrendous acts. I hope the victims can now feel a sense of validation after his guilty plea and hopefully begin to heal.