Benedictine Monk Denies Attempting to Lure Girls into Car
May 15, 2013
|Thomas M. Chmura |
A Benedictine monk accused of offering rides to four underage girls denied child abduction charges at his arraignment Tuesday.
Thomas Chmura , 57, was in court for his arraignment and bond review before Judge Christopher Stride.
He is accused of attempting to lure four children into his vehicle on April 25 and April 26. The children were all girls, ages 14, 12, 12 and 11, Assistant State’s Attorney Victor O’Block said.
“After Miranda, he admits [to police] to coming to Antioch five to 10 times during a six-week period asking girls for rides,” O’Block said.
There are two uncharged incidents in which Chmura is alleged to have tried to pick up a 17-year-old girl, O’Block said.
Chmura’s defense attorneys Kenneth Clark and Robert Hauser asked Stride to revisit bond, which was set at $50,000. Chmura posted 10 percent and returned to St. Benedict’s Abbey in Benet Lake, Wis., where he resides as a monk.
Pretrial bond services visited the abbey and discovered there is a treatment facility for children on the property. Chmura’s bond was revoked and he was taken back into custody. Stride increased the bond to $150,000 on May 9.
Hauser asked Stride to consider putting Chmura on a 24-hour curfew and electronic home monitoring. Chmura’s adopted father, who lives in Lansing in Cook County, is willing to allow Chmura to live with him, Clark and Hauser said.
“Lansing is not exactly the end of the world. We do have a presumption of innocence. We’re not talking about someone chasing someone down the street with a knife. We’re talking about someone opening a door or through a window offering a ride,” Hauser said.
Hauser also said his client has no criminal history.
O’Block asked Stride to leave bond at $150,000.
Stride held the bond issue over to Friday to give pretrial bond services time to see if Cook County would be willing to monitor Chmura.
Chmura remained in custody at Lake County Jail. He is due for trial May 31.