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Local News

Will County State's Attorney says evidence against McGrath 'insufficient'

Augustinian order says he’s absent without leave

A second criminal investigation into the Rev. Richard McGrath, former president of Providence Catholic High School, has ended without charges.

Meanwhile, a civil lawsuit related to the investigation has been dismissed, although an attorney said it will be reinstated.

The New Lenox police investigation launched in early 2018 stemmed from accusations by a former Providence student who later brought a lawsuit accusing McGrath of sexual abuse in the 1990s.

That investigation has reached a dead end, according to the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office.

“At this point, after a thorough examination and review of all the evidence, there is insufficient evidence to bring charges,” state’s attorney’s spokeswoman Carole Cheney said Dec. 24.

Cheney said the McGrath case is “an open matter” and would be renewed if prosecutors had more evidence.

New Lenox Police Chief Bob Sterba said his department brought what evidence it had to the state’s attorney “several months” ago.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of Robert Krankvich of Crest Hill was dismissed in Cook County Circuit Court for lacking sufficient factual allegations but will be reinstated soon with more facts, said attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents Krankvich.

Anderson said he is concerned about new reports that McGrath is absent without leave from his Augustinian order, saying the Augustinians have a history of “giving safe harbor to offenders.”

Officials with the Midwest Augustinians said McGrath has moved out of the St. John Stone Friary in Chicago, where he was assigned. His absence is illegitimate under Augustinian canon law, an official said.

McGrath suddenly retired as president at Providence in December 2017 amid an investigation into a student’s report of a photo of a nude, teen boy allegedly seen on his cellphone. New Lenox police closed the investigation after the cellphone disappeared.

• The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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