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  Priest Gets 3 Years for Molestation

By Leon Pitt
Chicago Sun-Times
February 5, 1993

A former Berwyn priest convicted of sexually molesting a 13-year-old girl in the parish rectory was sentenced today to three years in prison.

The Rev. Robert E. Mayer, 53, is the first Chicago archdiocesan priest imprisoned for sex crimes, prosecutors said.

Before sentencing by Cook County Criminal Court Judge Thomas P. Durkin, Mayer pleaded for leniency, saying "I am a broken man and I am asking for mercy."

Wearing a black suit with a white shirt open at the neck, Mayer denied fondling the girl and reaching under her skirt in January, 1991, in the rectory of St. Odilo Church, 2244 East Ave., Berwyn.

"As God is my witness, I was never alone with her and I never touched her. I am innocent of the charges I was convicted of," Mayer told the judge.

Mayer was not immediately taken into custody. He was ordered to surrender Feb. 19 unless allowed by the Illinois Appellate Court to remain free on bond.

Although Mayer could have received probation, Durkin said it would "deprecate the seriousness of the crime."

The judge agreed with prosecutors Mark Cavins and Roseanne Pulia that because of Mayer's "position of power," his sexual misconduct with the minor "screams" for prison time.

Approving courtroom spectators clapped loudly when Mayer was sentenced to prison.

 
 

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