April 11, 2006

Priest's release from prison blocked

Chicago Sun-Times

April 11, 2006

BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporter

His prison term ends today, but a Roman Catholic priest convicted of molesting three suburban boys will remain in custody after Illinois and DuPage County officials on Monday blocked -- at least temporarily -- his scheduled release.

Invoking a state law designed to keep dangerous sex offenders locked up even after they have served their prison sentences, authorities halted the release of the Rev. Fred Lenczycki by seeking to have him committed to a mental hospital.

The legal action stunned Lenczycki, 61, who pleaded guilty in January 2004 to fondling three boys while he was a priest in the mid-1980s at St. Isaac Jogues parish in Hinsdale. In return for his guilty plea, Lenczycki received a five-year prison term and was scheduled to be released today on parole.

"He's distraught. He did not know it was coming," his attorney, Harry Smith, said Monday after a DuPage County judge determined there was probable cause to detain Lenczycki for mental health evaluations.

Posted by kshaw at April 11, 2006 07:34 AM