CHICAGO (CBS) — A church in Hyde Park has hired a security guard to protect its members from an allegedly violent neighbor who turned out to be a registered sex offender – and who is lying about where he lives.
CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey on Monday was asking why the congregation says their attempts to correct the record and protect their church have gone nowhere.
Oren Fraser and his congregation at Vineyard Church of Hyde Park, 5333 S. Greenwood Ave., said they have known Bruce Holmgren for a decade – and they weren’t worried about him.
“It’s a community that’s been supportive of him, in terms of giving him some opportunities to earn a living,” Fraser said.
That was until Fraser was cleaning up some branches in front of the church about six weeks ago.
“So I was standing bent over here and I’m picking up, you know, the smaller pieces of branches and the large piece in my hand,” Fraser said.
That is when Fraser said Holmgren started punching him in the back of the head and yelling nonsensical allegations.
“(Holmgren yelled), ‘Why did you take pictures of me having sex with this girl and post it on the internet?’” Fraser said.
Fraser filed a police report and decided to Google Holmgren.
“All I do is I just type in, ‘Bruce Holmgren Illinois’ and a picture pops up,” Fraser said.
Fraser was shocked to learn that Holmgren been charged and convicted of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old in Minnesota, where he has an active warrant for failing to register in the past.
When Fraser pulled up his Illinois Sex Offender Registry, what was more concerning is that it shows Holmgren lives in California.
“He is not living in Minnesota and he’s not living in California,” Fraser said. “He’s living in Chicago.”
Fraser said that despite having several conversations with Chicago Police, the registration hasn’t been changed and Holmgren hasn’t been picked up for failing to register.
“There is a public safety concern,” Fraser said.
And Vineyard Church Pastor Aimee Tucker said that is why they’ve gone out of their way to pay for an armed guard.
“The safety of our members and the children in our church is a big concern, because we want to be a welcoming place in this community and we want people to know that they can feel safe and welcomed here,” Tucker said.
We reached out to Holmgren about his registration, but we didn’t hear back.
Fraser said he and his congregation just want their concerns to be taken seriously.
“You’re way too close for comfort, and you’re particularly too close for comfort if it’s undocumented; if your neighbors are not notified,” he said.
We reached out to Chicago Police, who confirmed the alleged battery involving Holmgren, but so far haven’t given me any information about his registration status or why he’s listed as living in California.
We’re told that in the past, Holmgren had also threatened to harm the children at the church.
We have also reached out to the Illinois State Police. The U.S. Marshals Service is looking into this case for Hickey as well.