Bloomingdale Priest Guilty of Sex Abuse

By Nancy Ryan
Chicago Tribune
February 10, 1990

The 50-year-old pastor of one of the largest Catholic parishes in Du Page County pleaded guilty Friday to sexually abusing a physically handicapped 18-year-old man who has learning disabilities.

Rev. Henry Slade, the pastor at St. Isidore Catholic Church in Bloomingdale since 1982, was sentenced to one year of probation, fined $250 plus court costs and ordered to undergo psychological counseling by Du Page County Judge Brian F. Telander.

The sentence was recommended by both Leann Schied, the head of the Du Page County state's attorney's Domestic Violence and Child Sexual Abuse Unit, and Slade's attorney, John F. Donahue. The maximum sentence for the crime is one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Slade pleaded guilty to criminal sexual abuse, a misdemeanor, for an incident that occurred the evening of Jan. 3 in the parish rectory on Army Trail Road. The teenager, who is now 19 and whose family is from the Bloomingdale area, had visited Slade that evening because the priest had been a friend of his family's for several years, Schied said during the sentencing hearing.

Slade escorted the man to an upstairs room where the sexual encounter occurred, Schied said. The teenager became frightened and ran out of the rectory. He later confided in a friend and his mother, who notified Bloomingdale police.

Slade, who hardly spoke at Friday's sentencing, told police that the youth did visit him on Jan. 3 and that "things had gotten carried away."

Following his arrest last month, Slade was removed by the Diocese of Joliet as head of St. Isidore, where 3,500 families worship and where he had served for 7 1/2 years.

Rev. Anthony Ross has been named acting administrator by the diocese, and a permanent replacement probably will not be named until June, said Michael Hatt, a parishioner who said he has volunteered to act as the church's spokesperson.

Slade was extremely well-liked and respected by the parish, which was "deeply saddened" by the news that he had pleaded guilty, said Hatt, who has been in the parish for 12 years.

"It's a very serious incident, and he's paying for it," Hatt said. "I hope it doesn't undo all the good he's done. He certainly won't be forgotten for all the countless good things he's done.

"This has been a very emotional month for the parish. There was a lot of shock when this first happened," Hatt said. "It's totally out of character for an incident like this to involve him. The main thing we have to do now is continue with our healing."

Donahue's request that Slade be allowed to undergo counseling through a church program in Maryland will have to be reviewed by the county's probation department, Telander said.

Donahue said the plea agreement resulted from input from the teenager's family and Bloomingdale police as well as from the state's attorney's office.


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