Monk Accused of Attempted Kidnapping Sent Back to Jail

By Ruth Fuller
Chicago Tribune
May 3, 2013

Thomas M. Chmura photo provided by the Antioch Police Department.

A Benedictine monk accused of trying to lure a suburban girl into his car is back in Lake County Jail after a judge revoked his bond.

Thomas Chmura, 57, who resides at St. Benedict's Abbey in Benet Lake, Wis., is charged with felony attempted child abduction and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

He was ordered back to jail Thursday after authorities said that, during a routine check of the abbey by court officials, children were found to be present in the complex. That violated the conditions of Chmura's bond, which forbids him contact with anyone under the age of 17, prosecutors and police said.

Chmura was first arrested after, according to police, he drove up to a 14-year-old girl in Antioch on April 25 and repeatedly asked her to get in his car before she ran off. Authorities said he later admitted he had approached the victim for the purpose of sexual gratification and had also offered rides to teenage girls several other times in recent weeks.

Police also said Chmura told them he has lived at the abbey, just across the Illinois-Wisconsin state line from Antioch, for more than 30 years. Court records show someone from the abbey paid his initial $5,000 bail before Chmura was ordered back to jail Thursday.

Antioch Police Chief Craig Somerville said Chmura could be required to stay in jail until he can an arrange other housing.

This week a representative of the abbey released a statement, which said that Chmura worked in the mailroom.

"Allegations of sexual abuse are thoroughly and rigorously investigated, even when they lead to painful information about a member of our community," the Rev. Donald Gibbs, prior and administrator of the abbey, said in the statement. "We do not approve or sanction any misconduct."

On Friday, Gibbs declined to elaborate or comment on authorities' claims that children were present at the abbey, in violation of the terms of Chmura's release from jail.

"I can tell you we are not going to be making any other statement, other than the statement than we have already released," Gibbs said.


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