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Former monk pleads guilty to Antioch child abduction charge

Thomas M. Chmura

Thomas M. Chmura

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Updated: January 7, 2014 6:29AM

A negotiated plea deal was accepted in court Thursday in the case of a former Benedictine monk accused of child abduction attempts in the Antioch area earlier this year.

Thomas Chmura, 57, was charged with four counts of child abduction, a felony punishable with up to three years in prison, after authorities alleged he offered rides to a number of girls ages 11 to 14 in April.

On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to one count of child abduction, a Class 4 felony, and was sentenced to six months of periodic imprisonment, plus 24 months of felony probation. He must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and undergo sex offender treatment.

Chmura never actually abducted any of the victims that prosecutors said he tried to lure into his car, but under state statute’s, his behavior qualified for the abduction charge, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Victor O’Block.

Chmura had previously pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and he has been out on bond living under 24-hour curfew in Lansing, Ill. with his father.

For 32 years prior, Chmura lived at St. Benedict’s Abbey in Benet Lake, Wis., as a monk.

Officials said he had admitted to police that he went to Antioch five to 10 times during a six-week period to offer girls whose aged ranged from 11 to 14 rides in his station wagon. The girls fled following his offers and the alleged motive behind the charges was never publicly detailed.

Police said that in one incident, Chmura said to a 14-year-old girl, “Come on, you’re so beautiful, let me drive you home.” When she refused, he reportedly told her to “Get in the car’, but she ran away, and he drove off.

O’Block said Chmura may receive treatment at the Vianney Renewal Center in St. Louis,, and that his attorney said Jefferson County officials have agreed to supervise his probationary restrictions.

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