Monk Accused of Trying to Abduct Teens in Antioch Takes Plea Deal
By Lee Filas
December 5, 2013
|Thomas J. Chmura|
A former monk accused of trying to lure teenage girls into his car in Antioch pleaded guilty to a single count of child abduction in Lake County court Thursday.
Thomas Chmura, 57, who had been associated with the St. Benedict's Abbey in Benet Lake, Wis., will spend 24 months on probation. He also has been ordered to undergo sex offender treatment, and must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Victor O'Block said following the plea deal.
Chmura was also sentenced to a six-month periodic imprisonment in Lake County. However, that was delayed by Lake County Judge James Booras and could be dropped if Chmura meets all the requirements of his probation.
Booras also allowed Chmura to move to Jefferson County, MO, where he will receive treatment at the Vianney Renewal Center, O'Block said.
"Thomas does not want the young girls involved in this to go through a trial," defense attorney Robert Hauser said in court while explaining why Chmura agreed to the negotiated plea deal. "He wants to put this behind him and to put it behind the girls as well."
Chmura was ordered to check in with probation after court, and he will leave immediately for Missouri.
He had been free after posting 10 percent of his $50,000 bail and was living with his father in South suburban Lansing since his arrest for trying to lure several teens into his vehicle while they were walking in downtown Antioch on April 25 and 26.
Chmura could have been sentenced to three years in prison and four counts of child abduction, officials said.
Authorities said Chmura was driving a silver station wagon when he pulled up next to a 14-year-old victim and asked if she wanted a ride. When she declined, authorities say, he badgered her to get in the car until she ran away. The girl contacted police and provided a description of Chmura and the car, authorities said.
An off-duty Antioch officer observed the same vehicle the next day pull up to three teenage girls walking on a sidewalk and asked them to get in his car, authorities said. Those girls also declined and ran away, authorities said.
Chmura was spotted and arrested later on April 26 by Antioch officers while he was driving south on Route 83.
He agreed to an Alfred plea in court Thursday, a deal where he does not admit guilt but agrees the evidence was sufficient enough to convict him.
Hauser also said in court a video confession was made in which Chmura admitted to trying to ask the teens if they wanted a ride, but also said he didn't mean to scare them.
Chmura was ordered to pay $2,630 in court fines, and told to never contact the victims or their families.