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updated: 9/10/2013 3:44 PM

Monk facing attempted child abduction charges could get plea deal

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  • Thomas J. Chmura

      Thomas J. Chmura

 
 

The lawyer for a monk accused of attempting to lure teenage girls into his car in Antioch said Tuesday he is confident a plea deal can be worked out before a trial begins.

Defense attorney Robert Hauser said he will be speaking with prosecutors to resolve the case against Thomas J. Chmura, 57, a former monk at the St. Benedict's Abbey in Benet Lake, Wis.

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Hauser and Lake County Assistant States Attorney Victor O'Block were expected to argue a motion to dismiss the case Tuesday in front of Lake County Judge James Booras, but the hearing was postponed to Oct. 16 because a witness was unavailable. The delay pushed Chmura's trial back to Nov. 1.

Chmura was released from custody after posting 10 percent of his $50,000 bail, but was ordered to live with his father in south suburban Lansing. He must also live under a 24-hour curfew, wear an ankle-monitoring device at all times and have no contact with anyone under the age of 17.

That last requirement prevented Chmura from returning to the abbey in Wisconsin because the facility houses children under the age of 17.

Chmura faces four counts of child abduction alleging he tried lure teenage girls into his car while they were walking in downtown Antioch on April 25 and 26.

Authorities said Chmura was driving a silver station wagon on April 25 when he pulled up next to a girl and asked if she wanted a ride. When she declined, authorities say, he badgered the teen to get in the car until she ran away. The girl contacted police and provided a description of Chmura and the car, authorities said.

An off-duty Antioch officer observed the same vehicle on April 26 pull up next to three teenage girls walking on a sidewalk, where he again asked them to get in his car, authorities said. The girls declined and ran away.

Chmura was spotted and arrested later the same day by Antioch officers while he was driving south on Route 83.

If found guilty, he could be sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison, though probation also is possible.

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