Christian Brother Caught in Net Sex Sting

By Mark Brown
Chicago Sun-Times
April 21, 1998

A member of the Irish Christian Brothers religious order who formerly taught at St. Laurence High School is the latest man to be snared in a police sting for allegedly using the Internet to solicit sex with a minor.

Brother Robert Brouillette, 56, of Joliet, was arrested Sunday at a southwest suburban fast food restaurant when he allegedly showed up to meet with an individual he thought was a 12-year-old boy.

Cook County sheriff's police said an investigator lured Brouillette to the meeting by posing as the boy in sexually explicit conversations conducted in an Internet chat room.

Brouillette was charged with indecent solicitation of a child, which is a felony. Bond was set Monday at $ 20,000.

Sheriff Michael Sheahan said police here targeted Brouillette after being alerted by New Hampshire police, who said they had monitored earlier Internet conversations in which he was involved.

Brouillette is the third person arrested in an Internet sting since the sheriff's office created a special unit in September to investigate child exploitation.

Brouillette, who lives in the order's home in Joliet, has been a member of the religious order for 38 years, serving in various assignments, according to a statement from the group. The order said his most recent assignment was as a member of the Province Leadership Team in Joliet.

But Sheahan said Brouillette works out of the religious order's office next to Brother Rice High School. He said Brother Rice officials had assured him that Brouillette worked in an administrative position and had no direct contact with students. He said he does not know when Brouillette left his teaching position at St. Laurence in Burbank.

Police have no evidence of any criminal conduct involving Brouillette in his work for the religious order, Sheahan said. In the matter in which he was charged, Brouillette was alleged to have used his personal computer at his residence.

"We're going to continue to investigate his history," Sheahan said.

In a press release, the religious order said it was cooperating with the investigation and urged anyone with relevant information to contact the sheriff.

"As always, our first concern is for our current and former students and their families," the statement said.

Sheahan said, "The computer Internet can be a tremendous educational tool for our children, but it can also be extremely dangerous as a playground for sexual predators."


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