Girl Makes New Charges against Ex-Berwyn Pastor

By Andrew Fegelman
Chicago Tribune
October 25, 1991

Allegations of sexual misconduct by a priest at a Berwyn church are now the subject of a criminal investigation after authorities said Thursday they are looking into charges by a 14-year-old girl that the priest made sexual advances toward her.

Berwyn Police Detective Roger Montoro said they have begun interviewing past and present students at the St. Odilo Church school after questions arose about the conduct of a former priest at the church.

The priest, Rev. Robert Mayer, left as pastor of St. Odilo in early July for what the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago described as "personal reasons."

Last week, the archdiocese acknowledged Mayer's departure was prompted by allegations of sexual advances he made toward a 20-year-old man who reported the overtures to the parish.

Since then, authorities say others have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the priest, sparking the investigation by Berwyn police, the mass molestation unit of the Cook County state's attorney's office and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Mayer has not been charged with any crime. He is in an undisclosed residential treatment facility out of state, according to church officials.

The investigation comes as the archdiocese was moving to quell anger at the west suburban church where parish members have accused church officials of mishandling the situation.

Members of the congregation say the archdiocese has been less than candid with them by failing to disclose the reason he left earlier this year and the fact that he had departed from another church under a similar cloud.

In 1982, while associate pastor at St. Edna's Church in Arlington Heights, Mayer was accused in a lawsuit of exposing himself to several altar boys he had taken on an outing.

The suit was subsequently settled, and no criminal charges were ever brought against the priest.

But the priest was required by the archdiocese to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and was prohibited from being alone with anyone under the age of 21.

Since the allegations first surfaced, the archdiocese has held a series of meetings with members of the church to explain the reasons for Mayer's departure and to counsel parents and children at St. Odilo's.


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