A Roman Catholic priest in Joliet has been charged with the sexual abuse of two teenage boys.
WillCounty state's attorney James Glasgow announced Thursday that LouisRogge, 76, was indicted on four counts of aggravated criminal sexualabuse on allegations that he had sexual contact with the boys in 1996and 1999.
Rogge's arrest marks the first criminal case involvinga Catholic priest accused of abuse in Will County since the nationalscandal of sexual abuse by priests began in 2002.
If convicted, Rogge could face 3 to 7 years in prison for each count against him.
Rogge,a priest of the Carmelite order, was a longtime friend of the boys'family, as well as their spiritual adviser. Both boys were 15 when thealleged abuse occurred. The first was in the summer of 1996, the secondin the summer of 1999, the state's attorney's office alleged.
The victims' families brought the allegations to prosecutors.
"Allegationsof sexual abuse by members of the clergy must be thoroughlyinvestigated, appropriately charged and prosecuted aggressively," WillCounty State's Atty. James Glasgow said. "Priests and other clergymembers hold positions of the highest level of respect and trust in ourcommunity. They must be held strictly accountable when that trust isviolated. We teach our children to hold priests in the highest regard,and that, combined with a childâ€™s inherently trusting nature, makestheir victimization truly a moral outrage."
Rogge has a criminalrecord for sexual abuse, according to the state's attorney's office. Hepleaded guilty to charges of child molestation in Athens, Ga., in 1974and received six years probation, the state's attorney's office said.
Whilethis is the first criminal case from the Joliet diocese since 2002,several lawsuits have been filed making allegations against priests inthe diocese.
The former bishop of the diocese, Joseph Imesch,was accused by some alleged victims of trying to cover up the abuse.Imesch resigned last May and was replaced by Bishop James PeterSartain, formerly of Little Rock, Ark.
While he was embroiled inthe scandals surrounding the diocese, Imesch's resignation came due tocanon law that dictates bishops must retire at the age of 75.