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  Priest Pleads Innocent in Sex Case

By Terry Wilson
Chicago Tribune
June 11, 1993

A Catholic priest charged with molesting and sexually assaulting a teenage boy over a two-year period pleaded innocent Thursday and was released after posting a $25,000 bond.

Rev. Ralph Strand, 55, who most recently was pastor of St. Francis Borgia Church in Chicago, appeared before Cook County Circuit Court Judge John Mannion.

Assistant State's Atty. Mark Cavins said Strand had been the victim's parish priest and entrusted with the authority to supervise the young man and others when the alleged abuse began.

The victim was a 15-year-old altar boy at St. Mary's Church in Des Plaines when the alleged abuse occurred, Cavins said. The incidents came to light after the boy told one of his teachers, who contacted the archdiocese.

Police, prosecutors and the Department of Children and Family Services then were notified as part of a new reporting program, Cavins said.

The alleged abuse continued after Strand was transferred to St. Francis Borgia, Cavins said. During the two years, Cavins said, the priest took the boy to rock concerts and to London.

Cavins said at least two adult men who are in their 30s have called prosecutors to complain that they also were sexually molested by Strand years ago. Because the alleged incidents happened long ago, the statute of limitations has passed.

Strand's lawyer, Patrick Tuite, said Strand paid his bond using his savings.

Strand has been on administrative leave since March 19.

 
 

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