AURORA, Ill. — The mayor of a western suburb said he was "blindsided" when he found out a notorious member of the Ripper Crew was moving to his city.
Thomas Kokoraleis, 59, was part of a group that raped and murdered more than a dozen women in the 1980s in the Chicago area. He was released from prison last Friday after serving half of his 70-year prison sentence for the abduction, rape and murder of 21-year-old Lorraine “Lorry” Ann Borowski.
Kokoraleis registered as a sex offender and will be living in a halfway house run by Wayside Cross Ministries in Aurora. The Illinois Sex Offender Registry lists his home address in Wheaton.
Mayor Richard Irvin released a statement asking the facility to reconsider for the safety of Aurora residents. He said he doesn't know if Kokoraleis is reformed, but he said that's a not a chance the city of Aurora should take. Irvin said the halfway house is too close to parks, churches and daycare centers.
"The additional concern and fear we had was basically of the unknown, and we're seeing that in the reaction of our citizens," Alex Alexandrou, with the mayor's office, said. "People don't know what to expect."
The mayor said the city has gotten almost 100,000 messages on social media from residents who feel concerned for their safety.
Kokoraleis was listed as a sex offender because his crime was sexually motivated, but he's not considered a convicted sex offender, meaning he can legally live wherever he wants.
When he was released, he had three days to find a place to live. Living with his family was not an option, because they disowned him years ago.
Wayside Cross Ministries said they did not seek out Kokoraleis. Instead, he came to them. They issued a statement that said, in part, the following:
“Wayside Cross Ministries (WCM) did not seek out Thomas Kokoraleis upon his release from prison. He came to us seeking our help. Ours being a Bible-based, Christ-centered ministry, we are mandated by our Lord Jesus Christ to love our neighbors.”
Wayside Cross Ministries said they hope Kokoraleis will become a Christ-loving, productive member of society.
The mayor’s office plans to meet with Wayside Cross Ministries on Wednesday. They are trying to figure out ways to get him out of the city.
Kokoraleis, who state records said was 21 at the time of Borowski’s death, was charged with her murder in 1982. Borowski was kidnapped outside a real estate office where she worked. She was then tortured, raped and murdered in May of that year.
Initially Kokoraleis received a life sentence for her rape and murder, but an appellate court later reversed the rape conviction because lawyers made errors at the trial. Instead of going to another trial, he pleaded guilty and agreed to a 70-year sentence. After he confessed to the murder, the law at the time stated he would have to serve only half of that time.
Police believe Kokoraleis and his brothers, plus two other men, were responsible for the murder of up to 20 women during the 1980s.
The Kokoraleis brothers and the two other men were part of the satanic cult group known as the “Ripper Crew.” According to the Chicago Tribune, the group was known to stalk the streets of Chicago, and the suburbs, in a red van looking for women to kidnap, beat, rape, torture and kill. The Tribune said the group members would cut off their victims’ breasts as part of a cannibalistic ritual.