Expert: Pedophile Priest Feels True Remorse for His Crimes

By Christy Gutowski
Daily Herald
March 19, 2008

The clinical psychologist has interviewed hundreds of sexual offenders, but Fred Lenczycki's remorseful response when asked about the harm he caused rang true to the skeptical professional.

He said the pedophile priest described the emotional torture his victims still likely endure as adults and, because of him, must struggle with their faith in God.

Lenczycki spoke of all the babies he baptized, the couples he married and parishioners he buried. Did his followers think it was all a lie?

"In 20 years, I've never seen someone respond with as much detail to the question the way Mr. Lenczycki responded," psychologist Orest Wasyliw testified. "He said, 'I want to say to (his victims), 'I'm to blame. You're not at fault.""

Wasyliw was the second defense expert Tuesday to tell a DuPage County jury that Lenczycki in their opinions poses a low risk of recidivism if he is released on probation. Two prosecution experts earlier urged for his continued civil commitment.

The jury will begin its deliberations today after lawyers' closing arguments.

Lenczycki, 63, is the first member of the clergy in Illinois to face a state law that allows a soon-to-be paroled prisoner to be civil commitment as a sexually violent person if he is deemed too dangerous to be set free.

Lenczycki was supposed to be paroled in May 2006 after serving half of a five-year prison term for molesting three altar boys at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church in Hinsdale more than two decades ago.

In all, he admits inappropriately touching as many as 30 boys, ages 9 to 17, at churches in three states for 25 years. The first few incidents were at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Naperville until 1975.

One month before Lenczycki was due to be paroled, prosecutors sought to have him committed under the 1998 law. The former Glen Ellyn man has been receiving treatment at a secured state facility for nearly two years during pretrial proceedings.

Prosecutors maintain Lenczycki is predisposed to re-offend because of a pedophilic mental disorder. But his defense team argues a treated, aging Lenczycki poses little threat.

Wasyliw, a 27-year professional, spent the most time with Lenczycki and administered more psychological tests. In one such test that gauges sexual arousal, Wasyliw said, it showed the priest is most attracted to young women, not boys.

He said Lenczycki's attitude also has changed in that he realizes the harm he caused and accepts responsibility. The defense expert said Lenczycki's risk of re-offending is diminished because he'll be a lifelong registered sex offender who will be closely monitored by probation officials and is no longer a practicing priest with as much access to children.

His two sisters also testified Tuesday about their love and continued support for their brother. Lenczycki, dressed in a suit, has remained solemn during the proceedings. He is not expected to testify.


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