Priest Who Worked Here Need Not Register As a Sex Offender

By Cathleen Falsani
Chicago Sun-Times
March 7, 2003

A Roman Catholic priest from Delaware who has been consulting for the Chicago Archdiocese and intermittently staying at Cardinal Francis George's mansion for the last year would not have been required to register as a sex offender in Illinois, despite having pleaded guilty in Maryland 15 months ago to sexually abusing a teenage boy in the late 1970s, authorities said Thursday.

The Rev. Kenneth J. Martin was sentenced to three to five years of unsupervised "pre-judgment probation" and, under terms of his Dec. 6, 2001, guilty plea, does not have a felony conviction entered on his record in Maryland.

As a result, the Illinois sex-offender law, which requires "any adult or juvenile found guilty" of molesting a child to register with the state, doesn't apply, Master Sgt. Lincoln Hampton of the Illinois State Police said Thursday. The law division of the State Police, which maintains the state's sex-offender registry, reviewed Martin's situation Thursday and determined he did not need to register, Hampton said.

If he remains law-abiding for three to five years, the guilty plea will be stricken from his record, said Steve Roscher, the Baltimore County, Md., prosecutor who handled Martin's case, which dates to before he became a priest. Martin, 57, is now on leave from the Wilmington (Del.) Diocese but remains a priest in good standing.

Martin, a Spanish-language liturgy expert, has been consulting for Liturgy Training Publications, a publishing company owned by the Chicago Archdiocese. The publishing company is next door to St. Mary of the Angels elementary school on the Northwest Side.

Martin returned to his home in New Jersey last week, is not expected to return to Chicago any time soon and will not stay at the cardinal's residence again, George said Wednesday, though his spokesman said the priest might continue to work for the publishing company from his East Coast home.


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