His first name is Richard

The Rockford Register Star has an update about a Catholic school teacher and Boy Scout camp co-director who has been charged with a sex crime against a child. The front-page story fails to include the offender’s first name.

You’ve heard of ‘bury the lede.’ This is ‘bury the deed.’ Someone else, once again, is deciding how much we should know. 

I, Connie, someone who respects privacy, actually think you should know his first name. It’s Richard.

Richard J. Reynolds, age 56, is hardly the first sex offender to emerge from the Catholic Diocese of Rockford, but he’s the most recently accused.

He taught at St. Peter’s Cathedral School from 1998–2019, then All Saints Catholic Academy from 2019–2021. Most recently, Reynolds was hired by Holy Family Catholic School. He was to teach once the 2021–2022 school year started, but he “retired” after the diocese and Holy Family became publicly involved. It’s possible they knew something sooner. This is the Catholic Church, after all.

To be clear, the Catholic diocese was officially aware of the allegations in August. That’s when Holy Family put Reynolds on unpaid administrative leave. He wasn’t fired; he wasn’t shooed away in disgrace. Two months later in October, the 56-year-old respectfully retired.

Two months is the time it takes to meet with lawyers, trusted friends and advisers. It’s generally how long it takes to get finances in order if you find yourself in a life circumstance that “suddenly” demands extra cash. It’s not ideal, but you can crack into your IRA and 401K if you need to, say, pay 10% of a $40,000 bail.

Reynolds’ $4,000 bail is paid and the retiree is currently free.

It’s worth mentioning that it’s unusual for a Catholic school teacher to have enough money saved to retire at age 56. That’s rare even for high-powered lawyers and CEOs with lucrative careers. But Reynolds was a history teacher.

When interviewed in 2018 about a northern Illinois history fair, Reynolds told WIFR News, “Rockford is full of a lot of history. Illinois is full of a lot of history.”

Rockford and Illinois aren’t just “full of a lot of history.” The city and state are full of sex offenders.

According to city-data, there are 515 registered sex offenders in Rockford. According to safehome.org, there are 32,541 in Illinois. That’s 257 sex offenders per 1,000 people.

Perhaps Reynolds spoke unremarkably to WIFR about history because history actually bores him. But it was something he could learn. The simple task of memorizing historical data was his chance to stand in front of, and among, hundreds of children. And he was a scout leader? Guaranteed orgasms all year round.

I generally stay away from the “tar and feather” approach and using vulgar language. I’m not interested in going to Richard Reynolds’ house (he’s a neighbor) and spray painting “child fucker” on his garage door. But I think it’s important to remember that men with fully developed minds and bodies are out there looking at kids and thinking, “I want to fuck that child.”

I’ve used the f-word to emphasize the violent nature of sex offenders. They’re not innocent guys who sometimes think naughty thoughts.

I don’t know for sure what they think but I doubt their thoughts are gentle or even humane. Sex offenders shred innocent flesh and irreparably damage young souls. They’re selfish and dangerous. And they’re smart; they know what they are doing.

You can do your own research about Richard Reynolds, or any criminal. As much as I respect the idea of so-called local journalism and appreciate home delivery of the newspaper, it’s not enough. I encourage you to utilize the internet, public radio, your instinct and your physical observations as you follow the data. You’re just a few clicks away from the real history of Rockford, of Illinois, of our entire country. Utilize as many safe, reliable sources as you can to stay vigilant.

***

Aside from his “retirement” from the Catholic diocese, Reynolds is barred from volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America. He is charged with grooming and disorderly conduct and has a plea hearing on May 25 at 9:00 a.m. at the Kane County Judicial Center. He’ll likely just get a slap on the wrist.

Thanks for reading my blog. No poetry today. -Connie

2 thoughts on “His first name is Richard”

  1. Brilliant and apt handling of such an infuriating topic. What will it take for the Church to get on the right side of this and protect the innocent instead of the perps/pervs? We need this piece and more like it. You give them no way out except to change.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s