Priest Convicted of Child Sex Abuse
By Linnet Myers
November 16, 1985
A Catholic priest was found guilty Friday of sexually abusing a 14-year-boy
who a prosecutor said thought of the priest as "the father he never
Criminal Court Judge Lawrence Passarella found Rev. Robert Friese, who
is on leave from the Archdiocese of Chicago, guilty of aggravated criminal
sexual abuse and taking indecent liberties with a child.
Father Friese, 33, admitted that he had abused the boy when he was interviewed
by police after his August, 1984, arrest. But on the witness stand last
week, he said "I lied to the policemen." The boy had told police
of the abuse, and Father Friese said he thought he would help the youth
if he told police that what the boy said was true.
Assistant State's Atty. James Comroe said that explanation "defies
In announcing his verdict, Judge Passarella said that there's "been
deceit by other people . . . throughout this whole matter."
He said the Department of Children and Family Services got custody of
the victim when he was two years old and "they shunted him about
. . . and really have given him very little chance."
According to trial testimony, the boy, now 17, has had 15 different placements
during his 14 years with DCFS. In October, 1982, when the abuse began,
the boy was living in Maryville Academy, a home for troubled youths, in
Father Friese was a counselor there, but his initial concern for the boy
"degenerated . . . into abuse," said Assistant State's Atty.
Father Friese continued to see the boy after he was transferred to a group
home, according to testimony.
Father Friese became a priest in May, 1978. He was first a parish priest
at St. Cyprian Catholic Church, River Grove, and was transferred in 1980
to St. Juliana's on Chicago's North Side. He will be sentenced Dec. 16.