A kindergarten teacher accused of sexually assaulting a teenage student in southwest suburban Burbank allegedly gave the student alcohol in exchange for sex, prosecutors said in court Wednesday.
Shannon Griffin, 49, of Oak Lawn, allegedly sparked a relationship with a then-15-year-old student over social media, prosecutors said.
"She had heard what the girls said about the victim in the locker room," Assistant State's Attorney Kyle Gruca said. "The victim asked the defendant what they had said and the defendant said the victim was good in bed."
Prosecutors alleged Griffin had sex with the victim several times, and often gave the teen alcohol in exchange.
"The victim recalled five incidents while he attended the school, a sixth incident after he graduated," Gruca said.
Griffin also allegedly sent nude photos of herself to at least two teenage students.
"One picture depicts the defendant in her bra and underwear with a message written across the picture 'Warm out of the shower, missing you.'"
Griffin, a mother of three whose husband serves as the pastor of the school, is charged with five counts of criminal sexual assault, one count of soliciting child pornography, one count of distribution of harmful materials and one count of grooming, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s office. The judge called the accusations "a horrible betrayal."
Griffin's attorney said she "vigorously maintains her innocence." Attorney Lori Levin said none of the photos showed Griffin's face and told the judge the teacher denies all of the charges.
"The facts and true facts will come out in court," Levin said.
Griffin was arrested Monday after a month-long investigation, the sheriff’s office said.
The alleged conduct began in 2013 and continued until March 2019, the sheriff’s office said. An investigation remained ongoing.
A call to Jordan Baptist School went unanswered Tuesday afternoon.
The school’s website lists “Mrs. Shannon Griffin” as a kindergarten teacher. Jordan Baptist School, located at 5040 W. 87th Street, serves up to a hundred students from kindergarten through high school, according to its website.
The church and school are all run by Pastor Thomas Griffin, who was in court at his wife's hearing Wednesday.