ANTIOCH, Ill. (STMW) – A Benedictine monk has been charged with trying to abduct a teen girl in north suburban Antioch this week.
The 14-year-old girl was walking on Skidmore Drive in Antioch Thursday when a man pulled up beside her in a station wagon and asked if she needed a ride, according to a release from Antioch police.
When the girl declined, the man said, “Come on, you’re so beautiful, let me drive you home,” and she declined again. The man said, “Get in the car,” and the girl ran away and he drove off, the release said.
The girl told her mother and a faculty member at Antioch High School what happened Friday morning. Antioch police interviewed her and she gave a detailed description of the man and the station wagon.
About 4:18 p.m. Friday, an off-duty officer saw a Ford station wagon matching the girl’s description stop abruptly on North Avenue alongside three females walking on the sidewalk, the release said. The officer got a good look at the driver, who matched the girl’s description. He tried to follow the car and took the down the license plate number, but lost sight of it.
Later Friday night, about 7:42 p.m., police located the vehicle driving southbound on Route 83 and arrested the driver.
Thomas M. Chmura, 57, was charged with one felony count of attempted child abduction and one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.
Chmura, a monk who has been living at St. Benedicts Abbey in Benet Lake, Wis., for the last 32 years, admitted he had offered rides to teenaged girls 5 to 10 times during the past six weeks, but they all declined, the release said. He admitted he approached the girl for the purpose of sexual gratification.
“I shudder to think what we would be looking at had she got in that car,” Antioch police Chief Craig Somerville said.
The fact that the alleged abductor is a monk came as no surprise, Somerville said.
“I wish it was,” he said. “In this day and age, we see everything.”
Chmura was expected to appear in bond court Saturday.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)