Former Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse "a Bad Situation"

Lake County News-Sun

August 16, 2008,5_1_WA16_PRIESTFOLO_S1.article

Archdiocese has kept county lawmen in dark

Local law enforcement has had an especially difficult time dealing with priests and former priests who have been accused of sexually abusing minors.

They have never been criminally charged because of the statute of limitations.

The recent revelation that two former priests who were accused of sexually abusing minors now live in Lake County has not slipped under the radar of law enforcement.

Because they have never been criminally charged, they do not have to register as sex offenders. But their presence in the county is still bothersome to Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran and Mundelein Police Chief Raymond Rose.

"The archdiocese has not contacted me in any way, shape or form," said Curran. "It puts us in a bad situation."

"I don't know what the allegations were, but as a practicing Catholic I was not happy with the way the (church) handled the sexual abuse scandal," he said.

Curran said he has a good understanding of sexual abusers because he helped develop the Illinois Attorney General's Sexually Violent Persons Bureau.

"When it relates to an older child, teenagers, the recidivism is significantly less," he said, noting that for pedophiles the rate is much higher and the urge to abuse uncontrollable.

"I think you should still be concerned, that's the reality of the situation," Curran said.

The two former priests are Robert Craig, who was listed as living at 39531 N. Bishop Court, and Robert Mayer, 37720 N. Harding Ave., both in unincorporated Lake Villa Township. The addresses were released Thursday by the law firms representing the victims in a civil suit that was settled with the Archdiocese of Chicago this week for over $12 million.

No one answered the door at the Harding Avenue address, and the Bishop Court address was actually five townhomes. Only one person was home at the Bishop Court address, and he knew only one of his neighbors, who was not old enough to be the former priest.

Rose had to deal with the fact that nearly a dozen priests accused of sexual abuse were staying at University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein. He sat on an ad hoc committee to put together rules that were going to be put in place.

"I'm glad they were able to implement all the recommendations we made," he said, which allows them to monitor where they are and who they are with at all times. At one point they were just going to dismiss the priests, but Rose urged them not to because then they would just be set free in the community.

"That would not be the right thing to do. If they stayed a part of the church then we could monitor them," he said, adding the church has a moral obligation to the community.

But in the end it is still the community that has to be vigilant.

"If nothing else a lesson has been learned, we all have to be vigilant to keep our kids safe," he said.

Both law enforcement officials said that the church needs to confront the problem and act accordingly right away.

Mayer, who was ordained in 1964, was associate pastor at St. Mary's Church in Lake Forest from 1976 to 1981. He resigned in 1994. Craig, who was ordained in 1974 and served in a number of Chicago parishes, resigned in 1993.


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