Wayside Cross says the city of Aurora has given the organization until July 26 to vacate 20 of its residents who are registered sex offenders, according to a statement by James M. Lukose, the agency’s executive director.
Lukose said in a news-release statement that the Aurora Police Department served the 30-day notice on June 26.
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin has said in media reports that the facility, located at 215 E. New York St. in downtown Aurora, has been in violation of state law regarding the proximity of registered sex offenders to places where children are present, such as schools and parks.
Wayside Cross is within 500 feet of the property line of McCarty Park, Irvin said.
The law specifically states that it is “unlawful for a child sex offender to knowingly reside within 500 feet of a playground, child care institution, day care center, part day child care facility, day care home, group day care home, or a facility providing programs or services exclusively directed toward persons under 18 years of age.”
Wayside Cross has provided housing for registered sex offenders for years, but the facility came under fire in April, when authorities learned that convicted Ripper Crew murderer Thomas Kokoraleis would be moving there after his release from prison.
Kokoraleis had pleaded guilty to the 1982 murder of 21 year-old Lorraine Ann Borowski of Elmhurst. 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.
According to a report in the Kane County Chronicle, Kokoraleis was released on March 29 from prison after serving half of his 70-year sentence. On March 31, Kokoraleis went into the Aurora Police Department to register as a sex offender and then moved into the facility.
Mayor’s Statement on Facebook
Wayside Cross Response To Recent Notice
On June 26, 2019, the Aurora Police Department arrived at Wayside Cross Ministries and served a 30-day notice to vacate 20 of our residents who are registered sex offenders.
We received this news with shock and sadness, considering our over nine decades in the community, all of which has led to transformed lives.
These 20 residents include five resident staff members who have successfully completed the Master’s Touch Program, and whose lives have been transformed, along with the remaining men who are on the path toward a transformed life.
Wayside Cross Ministries has been the only refuge for these men, and has been a beacon of light for over 90 years. Releasing these 20 men into the community without supervision and support is not in the best interest of these residents or the community.
We continue to trust our merciful God who has sustained and protected this ministry and has promised “to never leave us or forsake us” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
— James M. Lukose, executive director, Wayside Cross Ministries