Friday, July 10, 2009

Priest who abused boys allowed to leave treatment center

Priest who abused boys allowed to leave treatment center
DUPAGE | Can leave therapy center but will be monitored, judge rules
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July 10, 2009

BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporter drozek@suntimes.com
A Roman Catholic priest who served a prison term for fondling three young boys no longer belongs in a locked state center where he has been receiving therapy, a DuPage County judge ruled Thursday.

The decision means the Rev. Fred Lenczycki -- who was imprisoned in 2004 for sexually abusing the boys while he served at a Hinsdale church -- could be released by September from the state treatment center where he has been confined for more than three years.

» Click to enlarge image A DuPage County judge ruled the Rev. Fred Lenczycki, who has completed a prison term for fondling young boys, should no longer be confined to a locked state center for treatment.
(Sun-Times News Group)

» Click to enlarge image People protest Thursday outside the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton against the request of the Rev. Fred Leczynski to be released from a locked state treatment center.
(Sun-Times News Group)

Judge Bonnie Wheaton ruled that the 65-year-old Lenczycki has made enough progress in his treatment that he can be freed from the center in Downstate Rushville while he continues to undergo outpatient therapy.

Wheaton, though, said Lenczycki will be closely monitored once he is released from custody.

"I want to assure the community his movements, his actions, every aspect of his life and his behavior will be regulated to the fullest extent," Wheaton said.

She ordered that Lenczycki remain in custody for at least 60 days until such a plan -- which she must approve -- can be drafted by prosecutors and Lenczycki's attorneys.

Immediately after her ruling, a spectator was escorted out of the courtroom by deputies when he yelled insults at Lenczycki.

"I hope you go straight to hell, you piece of s---," yelled the 42-year-old west suburban man, who said he had been victimized by Lenczycki.

Lenczycki has admitted that while serving as a priest he fondled at least 30 boys in the Chicago area, Missouri and California. He was sentenced in 2004 to five years in prison for molesting three boys in the 1980s at St. Isaac Jogues Church in Hinsdale.

Last year, Lenczycki formally was declared a sexually violent person by a DuPage County jury. He's believed to be the first Catholic priest in the United States tagged with such a legal designation, which allowed him to be forcibly committed for therapy.

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