COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — An Ogden school music teacher has been charged with hiding a motion-activated video camera in a staff bathroom at the North Side elementary school.
Elliott Nott, 41, used putty to affix the camera to a sink inside a third-floor staff restroom at Ogden International School, 24 W. Walton St., Assistant State's Attorney Melissa Howlett said during a bond hearing Friday. On Sept. 7, an employee found a camera lens with an attached blinking light on the floor of the nearby staff room.
Two days later, Nott went to Swedish Covenant Hospital, where he requested a psychological evaluation and confessed to planting the camera, prosecutors said.
The bathroom in question was used by staff and one student, who had special permission to be there. Police recovered photos and video of multiple employees and the student using the restroom, according to prosecutors. Those photos helped police identify where and how the camera had been mounted.
Nott was the student's music teacher and knew the student would occasionally be inside the restroom, Howlett said. The prosecutor also noted that Nott has no prior criminal background.
"He was aware, or should've been aware, that this child uses the staff bathroom," Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil said Friday before setting bail at $75,000. Should Nott post bond, he'll be required to surrender his passport and forgo Internet or smartphone access.
Nott was arrested Wednesday and now faces charges of unauthorized videotaping.
David Matthews talks about the charges against the Ogden teacher.
According to school officials, Nott was fired shortly after the camera was discovered. He'd been an employee with Chicago Public Schools since 2009.
Ogden webpages tied to Nott had already been removed from the school's website prior to the charges being announced.
Ogden Principal Michael Beyer told parents via email Wednesday night to brace for fallout from the arrest.
"As further details are revealed, there may be questions around those who may have been personally impacted. Respecting their privacy is imperative," Beyer wrote.
"We can also expect the media to again be outside our school. It may be helpful for you to be ready to reassure your child that our school is safe, and that we want for them as students to remain focused on their learning and to continue doing their best," he said.
Nott's wife, Andrea, attended court Friday but declined to speak with press. Defense attorney Gigi Gilbert described Andrea as a professional cellist who is standing by her husband. The couple has two children, ages 3 and 4. Nott was the primary breadwinner until he was fired from Ogden earlier this month, Gilbert said.
Gilbert detailed Nott's employment history in court, which includes seven years at Ogden as a music teacher and track-and-field coach, preceded by two years coaching track and field at North Park College. Nott grew up in Bloomington, Ill., Gilbert said, and owns a home in the 4000 block of North Spaulding Avenue.
In an email to parents Friday, Beyer called the ordeal "extremely difficult for everyone in our school community."
"I am very thankful for everyone's support and understanding as we go through this challenging time," Beyer wrote. "Together we will weather this storm and become a stronger Ogden community."
Beyer said all of the people "personally impacted" by the camera have been contacted by police.
"It is imperative their their privacy be respected and honored," Beyer wrote. He did not specify if those impacted were students or staff.
A CPS spokesman did not immediately have a comment.
Nott is a worship leader at Carter-Westminster United Presbyterian Church in Skokie, according to an online biography, performed with the Chicago Chamber Choir, and is in a bluegrass band.
He was also previously the director of music at Broadway United Methodist Church in Lakeview. Alka Lyall, pastor of the church, said he has "not been an employee for several years."
In January he led a joint concert of students at Ogden and Jenner Academy of the Arts. The two schools are exploring a potential merger.
One Ogden parent with a fourth-grader at the school said she knows Nott "pretty well" and is "shocked" by the charges.
"I can tell you he was not the guy you'd expect this to happen to," she said in a text message. "Family man who cared about the kids. Great teacher, all of that."
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: