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Local News

McGrath appears before grand jury

JOLIET – The Rev. Richard McGrath appeared before a grand jury Wednesday amid an investigation into material allegedly seen on the cellphone used by the former president of Providence Catholic High School.

McGrath did not respond when questioned about his appearance before the grand jury as he left the Will County Court Annex building about 12:30 p.m.

Sources informed The Herald-News about McGrath’s appearance before the grand jury, which was scheduled to convene at noon in the annex building.

The grand jury investigation is a new development in the case, which has been investigated by New Lenox police.

“Our investigation continues,” New Lenox Police Chief Bob Sterba said Wednesday.

He said police are not in any position to bring charges in the case.

McGrath, 71, retired suddenly Dec. 22 after being the top administrator at Providence Catholic for 32 years. He came to the New Lenox school as principal in 1985 and became president in 1994 when the position was created under a new administration model.

Providence and the Diocese of Joliet announced the resignation while also revealing a police investigation into what was described as “potentially inappropriate material on his mobile device.”

McGrath, when contacted that day, acknowledged that he had retired but would not comment on the investigation. Since then, he has not returned calls for comments.

Sterba said police still have not obtained McGrath’s cellphone.

He previously said police were not able to obtain a warrant to force the surrender of the cellphone because the witness who first reported the allegedly inappropriate material was not talking to investigators.

The report of inappropriate material was first made to Providence authorities, who then contacted police.

Sterba on Wednesday declined to discuss whether the witness was talking yet.

He did say the cellphone is the property of Providence Catholic High School.

Providence spokeswoman Kathleen Kennedy did not respond to a phone call and emails seeking comments on the cellphone and whether it remains in McGrath’s possession.

Sterba would not comment on whether the grand jury investigation is based on any information developed by New Lenox police.

“I think it’s fair to say any investigation we do ultimately will come into the hands of the state’s attorney,” he said. “Our investigation continues. I really have no comment concerning the grand jury investigation.

The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office conducts grand jury proceedings.

State’s attorney spokesman Charles Pelkie would not comment on whether the office is investigating McGrath.

“I cannot comment on anything regarding the grand jury,” he said.

Diocese of Joliet spokesman Ed Flavin said in an emailed statement that the diocese and Providence “have been fully cooperative and will continue to cooperate with authorities throughout this process. We are not in a position to make any further comments, as this matter is ongoing.”

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