New Lenox priest under criminal investigation for allegations of sexually abusing student

NEW LENOX, Ill. — A former president of a Catholic high school in the south suburbs is being sued for sexually abusing a former student.

Father Richard McGrath priest abruptly retired from Providence Catholic High School in December after he refused to be interviewed by investigators after a student came forward to say she saw him on his cell phone looking at a naked teen boy.

McGrath refused to turn over the cell phone so the investigation was stymied and charges were never filed.

There is now an allegation from a former student who attended Providence in the mid 90s who said the priest sexually assaulted him several times during his time here.

The lawsuit comes as New Lenox police say a criminal investigation is being conducted at the same time.

The former student is Bob Krankvich who said those encounters haunted him for years and led him to abuse alcohol and drugs.

Krankvich said he is now clean and sober and is coming forward now as a part of his continued recovery and in hopes that the others were abused by this priest to come forward as well.

The suit names the Augustinian Order and Providence Catholic High School as defendants.  It claims the Augustinians knew about McGrath’s behavior but did nothing to stop it.

When Krankvich spoke to WGN, he did so standing in front of photos of other Augustinian priests who either admitted to past sexual misconduct concerning other students or who have been accused.

In the absence of a criminal investigation, WGN is not revealing the identity of those who are named in civil suits only.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet released the following statement that said in part:

“….Certainly, we are saddened to hear about these recent developments. The Diocese of Joliet and Providence Catholic High School will fully cooperate as the case proceeds. Due to the case being in litigation, we cannot comment further at this time.”

The school has not commented.