Attorneys for Monk Seek Bond Reduction, New Living Arrangement
By Janine Anderson
May 15, 2013
WAUKEGAN, ILL. — Attorneys for a Kenosha County monk arrested for trying to get underage girls into his car have asked permission for him to live with his father in a Lansing, Ill., retirement community while the case proceeds.
Thomas Chmura, 57, was arrested and charged in Illinois Circuit Court after police say he tried to lure four girls into his car in late April.
He has been charged with four counts of kidnapping, defined in the statutes as luring children under the age of 17 into his car for an unlawful purpose. The girls — between the ages of 11 and 14 — did not get into his car.
Originally released on bond, Chmura went home to St. Benedict's Abbey in Benet Lake, but Lake County officials revoked his bond after they learned there is a treatment program for children on the grounds. He has been in the Lake County Jail since then, under a $150,000 bond.
His attorneys asked Tuesday that bond be reduced to $50,000, and if he posts it, that Chmura be allowed to live with his father in a retirement community in a neighboring county.
“(He is accused of) stopping a vehicle, offering a girl a ride, then stopping a vehicle and offering three girls a ride,” said defense attorney Robert Hauser. “There is no allegation he chased anyone; he simply offered a ride, and when they refused he drove away. ... We do have a presumption of innocence. We’re talking about someone opening a door or maybe even a window.”
Hauser said his client is willing to be on a 24-hour curfew, with an ankle bracelet that would allow the court to monitor whether he abides by the restriction.
But the prosecutor said he wants Chmura’s bond to remain at $150,000. Chmura told police, Assistant State’s Attorney Victor O’Block said, that he had come to Illinois five to 10 times over a six-week period asking girls for rides.
Chmura is due in court Friday.