Sting Nets Ex-Area Teacher: Former Birmingham Brother Rice Faculty Member Faces Child Porn Charges

The Detroit News
June 30, 1999

BIRMINGHAM -- A former teacher and coach at Birmingham's Brother Rice High School and a member of the Christian Brothers religious order faces trial in the Chicago area after being arrested in an Internet child-pornography sting.

Brother Robert Brouillette, 57, of Joliet, Ill., was arrested in April 1998 after going to a restaurant outside Chicago thinking he had arranged via the Internet a sexual rendezvous with a 12-year-old boy. Instead of finding a child waiting for him, he was met by Cook County sheriff's detectives who arrested him and charged him with indecent solicitation of a child, said Bill Cunningham, a spokesman for the sheriff's department.

Joliet police then searched Brouillette's residence and found images of child pornography on computer disks and charged him with 10 counts of child pornography in August.

Unless a plea agreement is reached, Brouillette could go to trial on the charges in the fall. He is scheduled to appear in Will County Circuit Court July 28 for a pretrial hearing on the child pornography charges. Brouillette is currently enrolled in a treatment program for people with sexual compulsions, court records show.

Before his arrest, Brouillette was living in a Christian Brothers-owned home in Joliet and worked in an administrative post out of an office adjacent to Brother Rice High School in southwest Chicago.

Officials with the Christian Brothers -- a Roman Catholic lay order that teaches young people -- have declined comment on the matter other than to say Brouillette had no direct contact with students at his most recent position.

At Birmingham Brother Rice, though, he did work directly with students as a teacher of history and theology during the 1970s and 1980s.

He also coached basketball, football and track at various times.

Brother George Gremley, a former principal at Birmingham Brother Rice who is working in the Chicago area, declined to comment. Current principal, Brother William A. Dogan, is out of town this week and could not be reached for comment.

Chicago-area authorities received at least one call concerning Brouillette from the Metro Detroit area after his arrest.

But, "we were unable to turn up any additional evidence," Cunningham said. "It never really got beyond the preliminary stage."

After leaving Birmingham Brother Rice, Brouillette worked at several different jobs for the Christian Brothers, including as a faculty member of St. Laurence High School in Burbank, Ill.

"He would spend a couple of years in one spot and move on," Cunningham said. "It sent up some red flags for us."

The Cook County Sheriff's Child Exploitation Unit began investigating Brouillette in early April 1998 after police in New Hampshire contacted the department and said they had monitored Brouillette engaging in sexually explicit discussions on the Internet, Cunningham said.

Acting on the tip, an investigator entered the same chat room posing as a 12-year-old boy. Police say Brouillette initiated graphic sexual discussions with the officer.

The undercover officer then made arrangements to meet Brouillette at a fast-food restaurant in a suburb southwest of Chicago, where according to court documents they were to engage in oral sex.

Brouillette's lawyer, Patrick Reardon, said neither he nor his client had any comment on the matter. "I'd rather let it play out in court," he said.

Brouillette's case came after several other well-publicized Internet child-sex stings in the Chicago area.

Despite the publicity, Cunningham said some pedophiles "are so driven and so perverse that the thought of getting caught does not deter them. They will still try to set up meetings."


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