The city of Aurora is taking a closer look at its option regarding the residency of convicted murderer Thomas Kokoraleis.
At a media briefing April 2, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin stood by his previous comments, referring to the city being blindsided when notified that Kokoraleis would be residing in town.
Kokoraleis plead guilty to the 1982 murder of Lorraine Ann Borowski, 21, of Elmhurst, and is undergoing rehabilitation after serving half of his 70-year prison sentence, which is consistent with the laws in effect at the time of the crime. Kokoraleis, in connection with the Ripper Crew, is one of four suspected in the disappearances of 18 women between 1981 and 1982.
Irvin said he’s heard the concerns residents and community members have for Kokoraleis’ residency. He’s listed as a “murderer” on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry with an address of 215 E. New York St., Aurora, which is Wayside Cross Ministries.
Irvin said the city has been in talks with Wayside Cross Ministries in recent months regarding its model.
“I had thought we had had up to this point a good open dialogue working toward partnership, but I guess we’ll know more when we have a meeting with them,” he said.
The city has set up meetings with Wayside Cross Ministries trying to get the organization to reconsider its decision to allow Kokoraleis to stay at its downtown facility.
“I think the word, ‘blindside’, puts it mildly,” said Alex Alexandrou, chief of staff for the city of Aurora.
Kokoraleis has no prior connection to the city, officials said.
“I think what’s most important is that we continue to work with Wayside to come to a meeting of the minds of what’s important in the community versus their mission,” Irvin said.
Irvin said he realizes he must listen to the citizens and their outcry.
“I was a defense attorney and prosecutor for a number of years, but now my concern is the citizens of Aurora,” he said.
Irvin did not have a response as to what would be a more ideal resolution to the issue at hand.
“He is not my concern as to where he’ll go or other options,” Irvin said.
Alexandrou said there is reason to have concern for Wayside Cross Ministries’ decision.
“We’re not even certain to what extent their program will track him to whatever extent is legal,” Alexandrou said.
Alexandrou said the risk involved in this case leaves too much unknown.
According to a statement on its website, Wayside Cross Ministries did not seek out Kokoraleis upon his release from prison and he is seeking their help.
“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,” Wayside Cross Ministries executive director James Lukose said in a statement. “Some are former sex offenders. We do not discriminate.”