Monk charged with trying to abduct teen girl in Antioch - New York News

Monk charged with trying to abduct teen girl in Antioch

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Thomas M. Chmura Thomas M. Chmura
Chmura's vehicle Chmura's vehicle
ANTIOCH, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A Benedictine monk from Wisconsin is facing criminal charges after he allegedly tried to abduct a teenage girl in Antioch this week.

The 14-year-old girl was walking on Skidmore Drive in the Lake County suburb Thursday when Thomas M. Chmura pulled up beside her in a station wagon and asked her if she needed a ride, Antioch police said.

When the girl declined, Chmura allegedly said, "Come on, you're so beautiful, let me drive you home." The girl refused again, prompting Chmura, 57, to command, "Get in the car," police said. The girl ran away and her would be abductor drove off.

The girl told her mother and an Antioch High School official about the incident and she was able to give police a detailed description of the man and his station wagon.

Late Friday afternoon, 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, police said. The officer got a good look at the driver, who matched the girl's description, and he tried to follow the car. He took the down the license plate number, but lost sight of it, police said.

However by Friday night, officers located the vehicle driving southbound on Route 83 and arrested Chmura, a monk who has been living at St. Benedict's Abbey in Benet Lake, Wis. for the last 32 years.

Chmura allegedly admitted he had offered rides to several teenaged girls for the purpose of sexual gratification over the past six weeks, but they all declined.

"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 to Somerville.

"I wish it was," he said. "In this day and age, we see everything."

Chmura was ordered held in lieu of $50,000 bail Saturday for attempted child abduction and disorderly conduct.

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