Priest Charged with Sex Abuse

By Laurel Jorgensen
Associated Press, carried in Daily Southtown [Joliet IL]
December 22, 2006,222NWS7.article

A Catholic priest previously convicted of child molestation was charged Thursday with sexual abuse after allegations that he fondled two teenage brothers in the 1990s.

Louis Rogge, 76, of Joliet, was indicted on four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse following an investigation by the Will County state's attorney's office.

The first boy allegedly was abused in 1996, when he was 15, and the second in 1999, when he also was 15, said Charles Pelkie, spokesman for State's Attorney James Glasgow.

In 1974, Rogge pleaded guilty to charges of child molestation in Athens, Ga., and was sentenced to six years probation, according to Glasgow's office.

Pelkie said Rogge was a longtime family friend and spiritual adviser for the boys involved in the new allegations.

"The case was reported to us within the last year, but there was a lot of review -- a fairly exhaustive investigation and determination about whether we could move forward with the charges," Pelkie said.

Rogge, a priest with the Carmelite Order, was removed from public ministry in 2002 when the church learned about his decades-old sexual molestation conviction, said John Welch, the provincial of the order's Chicago-area headquarters in Darien, and Rogge's superior.

Welch said the order notified the Joliet Diocese and the state's attorney's office when the family came forward with the new allegations.

"We're obviously very saddened by the charges brought forward today against Father Louis Rogge," Welch said Thursday. "We take all of these allegations very seriously, and we've been cooperating with the civil authorities fully in all of these matters. We are following the policies we have in place to ensure the safety of the young people we serve through our ministries."

Rogge has been doing internal work for the order since he was pulled from public ministry in 2002, Welch said. He has not been allowed to work with minors or appear in public in clerical dress, Welch said.

"Because of that prior conviction, he can't return to public ministry no matter what the outcome of this (investigation) is," Welch said.

Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony with a possible prison sentence of three to seven years.

Rogge posted a $4,000 bond Thursday morning at the Will County Courthouse. A pretrial hearing is set for Jan. 19.


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