Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said the community was “blindsided” when convicted Ripper Crew murderer Thomas Kokoraleis revealed he would be living at Wayside Cross Ministries in downtown Aurora.
Previous news reports had indicated Kokoraleis would be residing in Wheaton following his release from custody, according to a news release from the city.
Kokoraleis had pleaded guilty to the 1982 murder of 21 year-old Lorraine Ann Borowski of Elmhurst.
The laws in effect at the time of the crime required Kokoraleis to serve only half of his 70-year prison sentence, the city said. Kokoraleis, his brother, and two others were part of the Ripper Crew and were suspected in the disappearances of 18 women between 1981 and 1982.
“As a former prosecutor, and later as a defense attorney, I’ve seen firsthand that persons can and do emerge from incarceration changed for the better,” Irvin said in a statement. “However, I’ve also seen the opposite unfortunately occur as well. As it stands from my perspective it is a risk the people of Aurora shouldn’t have to take.”
Police became aware of the move when Kokoraleis registered as a sex offender in Aurora.
The sex offender list as of October showed 23 registered offenders living at that address.
The Illinois Sex Offender Information registry lists Kokoraleis as living in Wheaton. APD Sgt. Bill Rowley said the registry was expected to update Kokoraleis’ new address sometime Monday.
The Ripper Crew is among the most notorious violent criminals in Illinois history. Andrew Kokoraleis, Thomas’ brother, was executed by lethal injection 20 years ago. The other two, Edward Spreitzer and ringleader Robin Gecht, have exhausted their appeals.
Mayor’s Statement on Facebook
Wayside Cross Response
- Editor’s Note: The following is a response from Wayside Cross, as published on its website.
A response to recent news articles…
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. According to Luke 10:25-37, anyone in a genuine need is a neighbor.
Almost one-third of the residents in our Master’s Touch program come to us immediately after being released from one of the many correctional facilities in Illinois. Some are former sex offenders. We do not discriminate.
While participating in our Master’s Touch program, many of our residents have experienced permanent spiritual transformation through the power of the gospel of Christ. The Bible clearly commands us to show kindness and mercy towards all, even our enemies, the ungrateful and the wicked. This is because God, Himself is kind and merciful to all (Luke 6:35-36). As a Bible-based, Christ-centered ministry, we are also required by Scripture to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8).
For more than nine decades, WCM has been committed to empowering the afflicted and the powerless in collaboration with scores of local churches and hundreds of godly mentors.
Recognizing that God is the source of our competence (2Corinthians 3:5), we are called to help people like Thomas.
God‘s grace transcends any human depravity and wickedness. Therefore, we hope and pray that Thomas would one day return to society as a God honoring productive member, displaying the amazing transforming power of Christ.
We ask you to join us in this prayer.
Executive Director Wayside Cross Ministries