The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Sexually violent ex-priest due back in court; SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, Founder and President of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312 399 4747)
We applaud the prosecutors who are trying to keep this dangerous predator behind bars. We are grateful to all of Fr. Lenczycki's victims for having the courage to come forward, the strength to take legal action and the compassion to cooperate with law enforcement so others can be protected from this child molesting clergyman.
Kids are safest when pedophiles are jailed. This is especially true of shrewd, charismatic and well-educated pedophiles, like those who are priests.
We're especially upset at the notion that Lenczycki wants to live with family members, like Illinois' most notorious predator-priest Fr. Daniel McCormack did while awaiting trial. Loved ones are perhaps the least likely to monitor the movements and activities of a child molester.
It's time for Catholic officials to weigh in and publicly advocate for the continued incarceration of Lenczycki. Church authorities can't recruit, educate, ordain, hire, train, transfer and shield pedophile priests, then suddenly step aside when they're convicted and irresponsibly wash their hands, effectively dumping these problematic predators on the rest of society.
We hope that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes - by Lenczycki or other clerics - will be inspired by this legal process, and find the courage to step forward, get help, call police, protect kids and start healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 21 years and have more than 9,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell)
Sexually violent ex-priest due back in court
July 7, 2009 8:00 PM
A former Roman Catholic priest from the western suburbs who has been declared a sexually violent person is scheduled to be back in DuPage County court Wednesday for a hearing to determine the type of psychological treatment he will receive in the future and where he will receive it.
According to the Illinois Attorney General's office, Fred Lenczycki, 65, is the first person in United States to have served as a priest and be declared a sexually violent person.
He currently is incarcerated at an Illinois Department of Human Services facility at Rushville, receiving counseling for his condition as a sex offender.
The state believes he should remain in custody. But his attorney will argue in court Lenczycki should be allowed to receive treatment as an outpatient while living with a family member in DuPage County.
The hearing, being held before DuPage Judge Bonnie Wheaton, is required when a person is declared sexually violent. The hearing began earlier this year and is scheduled to continue Wednesday and Thursday.
Lenczycki pleaded guilty in 2004 to aggravated criminal sexual abuse of three school boys at St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Hinsdale, where he served as an associate pastor in the 1980s.
He was sentenced to 5 years in prison and was due to be released after serving 2 1/2 years.
But he remained in custody while the Illinois Attorney General's office and DuPage County State's Attorney's office sought to have him declared sexually violent under a decade-old state act.
In March 2008, a DuPage County jury, after hearing four days of testimony, took only a few hours before unanimously declaring him a sexually violent person.
According to the attorney general's office, a sexually violent person is defined as one who is in need for further treatment, exhibits a mental disorder and is likely to commit future sexually violent acts if released from custody. More than 200 people have been declared sexually violent people in Illinois.
During the 2008 hearing, the jury heard that Lenczycki had a much worse history of abusing young boys than previously disclosed.
That history includes incidents of abuse at Sts. Peter and Paul parish in Naperville and St. Charles Borromeo seminary in Romeoville during the 1970s, prosecutors said.
Other incidents occurred in California and Missouri, where Lenczycki was transferred after being removed from his Hinsdale assignment, prosecutors said.
Wheaton, who presided over the 2008 hearing, began hearing testimony earlier this year about what type of treatment Lenczycki should receive.
Assistant Attorney General Debra Blomgren has argued that Lenczycki hasn't progressed enough in his treatment and that mental health examinations show the required need for more treatment in a confined setting.
Defense attorney James Montgomery has argued that at his age Lenczycki has progressed enough in his treatment to be released to live with family members and receive outpatient treatment, while being regularly monitored by the Department of Human Services staff.
Wheaton can choose either option or develop a hybrid. Any type of treatment she chooses will be periodically reviewed by her and state employees.
Montgomery told the court earlier this year that if Lenczycki is released, he would reside with a member of his family in DuPage County, live off of a small church pension and Social Security, register as a child sex offender with local police, receive treatment approved by a state management team, receive periodic polygraph tests, and have his location monitored by GPS.
Lenczycki was automatically and permanently removed from the priesthood when he was convicted of sexual abuse, according to the Joliet Diocese. He is banned from celebrating mass and can't wear a priest's collar or call himself a priest.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests