Trial for Monk Accused of Luring Teens in Antioch Pushed Back
By Lee Filas
June 18, 2013
The trial of a monk accused of trying to lure teenage girls into his car in Antioch has been pushed back to September.
In the meantime, prosecutor Victor O'Block said Thomas Chmura, 57, has been compliant with court-ordered restrictions while free on $50,000 bond.
"There was a mix-up with pretrial services because they were dialing the wrong number (when trying to reach him)," O'Block said after attorneys pushed the trial pushed back to Sept. 25. "But, it's been worked out. He has been compliant while out."
Chmura was freed from jail after Lake County Judge Christopher Stride lowered his bond from $150,000 to $50,000 in May. Stride ordered Chmura to live with his father in Lansing, Ill., remain on 24-hour curfew, and wear an ankle-monitoring device at all times.
A fourth condition of his bail is to not have contact with anyone under the age of 17, which prevented Chmura from returning to St. Benedict's Abbey in Benet Lake, Wis. The abbey houses children under the age of 17 on the property.
Chmura is charged with four counts of child abduction for trying to lure teenage girls into his car while they were walking in downtown Antioch on April 25 and 26.
According to police, Chmura was driving a silver station wagon April 25 when he pulled up next to a girl and asked if she wanted a ride. When she declined, authorities say, he badgered the teen to get in the car until she ran away. The girl contacted police and provided a description of Chmura and the car, authorities said.
An off-duty Antioch officer observed the same vehicle on April 26 pull up alongside three teenage girls walking on a sidewalk and ask them if they needed rides, authorities said. Chmura was arrested by Antioch officers later that day while he was driving south on Route 83.
He initially was released after posting 10 percent of a $50,000 bond, but after he returned to the abbey — potentially violating the provision that he not have contact with minors — Chmura was returned to jail and had his bond upped to $150,000. Officials at the abbey later said the youths were housed in a different building and never had contact with Chmura.
If found guilty, Chmura would face a sentence of up to three years in prison. He also could receive a term of probation.
He is due back in court July 22 for a pretrial hearing.