Men [of God] at work in Illinois

14 Mar 2001


CHICAGO - A Villa Park pastor was arrested in Wisc. and accused of using the Internet to set up a sexual rendezvous with someone he thought was a 14-year-old boy, authorities said.

Fr. John M. Furdek, 47, was taken into custody Feb. 17 in the parking lot of a Racine, Wisc. McDonald's, investigators said. Agents from the Wis. Dept. of Justice were waiting for Furdek after he allegedly set up a meeting with a chat-room acquaintance who turned out to be an undercover detective.

A computer and videotapes were confiscated from his home on parish property. Sheriff's deputies also found steroids and less than 5 grams of marijuana in his car. He was ordered held on $60,600 bond and to appear in court again on Feb. 28.

The priest has no known criminal record. Church officials declined to comment on the situation.

In an unrelated case, a Chicago priest appeared in court accused of fondling an adult seminary student. An attorney for Fr. Domingo Hurtado-Badillo, 38, received a postponement in the case until March. Hurtado-Badillo, who is on temporary leave from his duties as pastor, allegedly caressed a 21-year-old seminarian on Oct. 30. The 21-year-old complained to police late in Jan. Hurtado-Badillo's attorney had no comment.

Hurtado-Badillo was previously convicted of indecent exposure in Nov. 1998.

Tribune, 2/19/00, AP 2/18


AURORA - A self-proclaimed minister and schoolbus driver faces multilple charges with soliciting sex from two 18-year-old males assigned to court-ordered community service at the church he ran from his home. Terrance Johnson, 45, was charged also with bribery and record-tampering for allegedly offering to falsely report that the men had finished their work in exchange for sex. He resigned as bus driver when local school officials got wind of the police investigation, and after more than 50 calls from concerned residents to investigators, more charges might follow.

Tribune 1/28/00, 12/28/99, 12/3


AURORA - A priest living here who is facing charges that he sexually assaulted two altar boys in Calif. will surrender voluntarily again to San Bernardino County authorities, his lawyer said.

Fr. Edward Lawrence Ball, 60, has been living in the Society of the Missionaries of Sacred Heart's U.S. headquarters in Aurora. He was arrested by Aurora police in Oct. and charged with 26 counts of sexual assault that allegedly occurred in Calif. from 1978 to 1985, said that county's supervising deputy district attorney.

Ball, a priest for more than 30 years, was released in Nov. from county jail after posting 10 percent of a $25,000 bond and placed on electronic monitoring, said his lawyer. At that time, he was ordered not to leave Illi.

A county circuit judge approved an order that was agreed to by prosecutors and Ball's lawyers. The order modifies the conditions of Ball's bond, allowing him to avoid extradition and return to San Bernardino on his own. Ball was expected to return to San Bernardino no later than Jan. 15.

Ball was convicted in 1993 of sexual offenses against 3 boys while serving as a parish priest in San Bernardino. He had been living in Tex. when he was arrested and returned to San Bernardino on his own to answer to the charges. After his conviction, Ball was placed on probation, which he has completed.

After the conviction, prosecutors learned that the priest might have committed prior sexual offenses against children. Ball had made statements to a probation officer alluding to his involvement in such prior incidents but that it wasn't until the alleged victims came forward in the last several months that prosecutors were able to file the latest charges.

Chicago Tribune, 1/5/00


CHICAGO - Benjamin Bowman, 61, pastor of the Revival Center Church of God in Christ, pleaded guilty to twice attempting to burn the church which he founded down in order to personally benefit from any insurance settlement.

According to his plea agreement, he made sure he was out of town on church-related business at the times in Aug. 1994 and Nov. 1995. The first attempt was foiled by his daughter arriving unannounced and smelling gas, and the other by the discovery of his ignition device which had failed.

Tribune 1/?/00


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