Ex-Local Priest Gets 4 Years in Abuse Case

The Associated Press, carried in Chicago Tribune [Hagerstown MD]
November 23, 2004

HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- A former Chicago-area priest has been sentenced to four years in prison for sexually abusing a male student at an Episcopal boarding school in Maryland in the 1980s.

The plea agreement announced Monday in Washington County Circuit Court marks the second conviction for Kenneth K. Behrel, 55, of Grayslake, a northern suburb of Chicago.

Behrel entered an Alford plea to a charge of sexual child abuse involving a Frederick man who was a student at St. James School during the 1980s. In an Alford plea, a defendant doesn't admit guilt but acknowledges that the state has enough evidence for a conviction. Judge Frederick C. Wright sentenced Behrel to four years.

The hearing was scheduled as a retrial. A Washington County jury convicted Behrel of the same crime in 2002 and sentenced him to 12 years in prison, but the verdict was overturned on appeal.

The new sentence will run consecutive to a 12-year term Behrel is serving for abusing another student.

The former priest was pastor of St. Andrew's Church in Grayslake before being charged with the crimes in 2001.


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