April 10, 2006

Jailed priest could be refused release

Chicago Tribune

By Charles Sheehan
Tribune staff reporter
Published April 10, 2006

The state will try to block the release Monday of a Roman Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing three boys at a Hinsdale church--the first time Illinois authorities have tried to hold a clergyman with a law allowing them to commit indefinitely a sex offender to a mental treatment facility, according to the attorney general's office.

Rev. Frederick A. Lenczycki, 61, pleaded guilty in January 2004 to aggravated sexual abuse of three boys, though prosecutors said they believe he molested three times that many children. Lenczycki is scheduled to be paroled this week, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, the state can force a sex offender to stay in a mental treatment facility if it can prove that another sex crime is probable should the inmate be allowed to go free.

The Illinois attorney general's office filed a petition on Friday to put Lenczycki in the Joliet Treatment and Detention Facility, and an assistant attorney general plans to bring the case before a DuPage County Circuit Court judge Monday morning.

"The Sexually Violent Persons program was designed to keep people off the street who shouldn't be there," said Melissa Merz, spokeswoman for the attorney general's office.

Posted by kshaw at April 10, 2006 08:08 AM