Sex-Case Priest Goes to Prison

By Leon Pitt
Chicago Sun-Times
December 9, 1994

Two years ago Saturday, the former pastor of a Berwyn Catholic church was convicted of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in the parish rectory.

On Thursday, now-defrocked priest Robert Mayer, 54, who had been free on appeal bond, ended his fight to stay out of prison and surrendered to chief Criminal Court Judge Thomas T. Fitzgerald.

Mayer is the first Chicago archdiocesan priest ever ordered imprisoned for a sexual offense by a Cook County Criminal Court judge.

He was sentenced to three years in prison by Judge Thomas P. Durkin last February. The conviction was upheld by the Illinois Appellate Court on Sept. 30.

With Mayer's surrender, the case has "finally been laid to rest" said prosecutor Mark Cavins, chief of the state's attorney's sexual crimes division.

Mayer's conviction and imprisonment sends a "loud and clear message" that priests, politicians and others in positions of trust will "pay" if they break that trust, Cavins said.

Mayer, who resigned the priesthood last December, refused to talk to reporters when he walked into the Criminal Courts Building, 26th and California.

After Mayer was taken into custody, his attorney, Patrick Tuite, maintained his client's innocence.

Mayer was convicted Dec. 11, 1992, of fondling the girl in the rectory of St. Odilo Church, while he was pastor there in 1991.


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