Priest to Stay in Custody
Man Convicted of Abuse Is Ordered to Mental Facility
By Angela Rozas and Manya A. Brachear
April 11, 2006
A Roman Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing three boys at a Hinsdale church will be committed to a mental treatment facility, pending a trial to determine if he is a sexually violent person incapable of rehabilitation, a DuPage County judge ordered Monday.
Attorneys for Rev. Frederick A. Lenczycki, 61, agreed Monday that an expert--hired by the state and county prosecutors--would have testified that the priest is a sexually violent person who would commit abuse if released. Lenczycki's attorneys asked for time to get their own experts to evaluate the clergyman.
Judge Edward Duncan gave them three weeks to come up with a list of potential witnesses.
Lenczycki, dressed in blue prison garb, his hands shackled in front of him, stood quietly while his case was heard in the Wheaton courthouse. He was set to be released on parole Tuesday after serving 2 years in prison. He pleaded guilty in 2004 to abusing three boys while serving at St. Isaac Jogues Church in Hinsdale in 1984.
Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan's office, with the support of DuPage County State's Atty. Joseph Birkett, petitioned the court under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act to commit the clergyman indefinitely to the Joliet Treatment and Detention Facility.
Under the act, the state can force a sex offender to stay in a mental treatment facility if it can prove that another sex crime is probable if the inmate is allowed to go free. Lenczycki is the first priest the state has tried to commit under the act.
The state's expert witness report stated the clergyman suffers from pedophilia, sexual sadism and fetishism, and would likely offend again, according to the state's complaint.
Lenczycki's attorney, Harry Smith, said the state's move to commit the clergyman was a surprise.
"He did not know it was coming," Smith said. "He's distraught. He had a whole plan to go home and resume a life with his family."
Lenczycki's cousin, Wayne Lenczycki, attended the hearing and waved to his cousin when the priest entered the room.
"Certainly we're disappointed," Wayne Lenczycki said after the hearing. "I don't think he's dangerous. He's shown to be a kind and gentle person."
Prosecutors said although Frederick Lenczycki pleaded guilty to abusing three boys, they believe he abused three times as many, and would continue to abuse if released.
"It is not additional punishment," Birkett said. "It is a way to protect society from people who have not been rehabilitated."
The entire process to have Lenczycki committed could take a year, he said.
Contact Angela Rozas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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