Suburban Substitute Teacher Charged With Abusing 10-Year-Old Student

A 56-year-old man who was working as a substitute teacher at a west suburban elementary school has been charged with the criminal sexual assault of a 10-year-old child who was a student in his classroom, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Joseph Gurzejk, of Westchester, has been charged with Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child and Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse in connection with an incident that occurred on Jan. 25 at the school where Gurzejk was a frequent substitute teacher.

According to prosecutors, Gurzejk was teaching the victim’s class when he hugged the child and asked the victim to stay after class. After the other students left the room, Gurzejk hugged the child again and then began fondling the victim under the child’s clothing. The victim left the classroom and went to lunch and disclosed to a fellow student what had happened. After school, the victim reported the incident to school officials. Gurzejk had worked as a substitute teacher at the school since 2004.

Gurzejk was arrested by Cook County Sheriff’s Police the following day. He appeared in bond court today at the Cook County Courthouse in Bridgeview where Judge Peter Felice set bond at $750,000. Gurzejk’s next court date is Feb. 24.

The public is reminded that criminal charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.