Aurora mayor ‘blindsided’ by reputed gang member’s arrival

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This undated photo provided by the Illinois Department of Corrections shows Thomas Kokoraleis. Kokoraleis was initially sentenced to life in prison for the 1982 slaying of 21-year-old Lorry Ann Borowski. But after his appeal request was granted, prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty in exchange for serving half of his 70-year prison term. | AP

The mayor of Aurora said he was “blindsided” when a convicted murderer and reputed member of the “Ripper Crew” registered as sex offender to live at a facility in the west suburb.

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said he hopes Wayside Cross Ministries reconsiders its decision to house Thomas Kokoraleis, 58, who was released from prison last week . Irvin said he’s concerned about community safety.

“Their decision suggests that they do not fully appreciate the impact Kokoraleis’ mere presence will have on the community,” Irvin wrote in a statement issued Monday. He said having Kokoraleis live at the facility “is a risk the people of Aurora shouldn’t have to take.”

The ministry’s executive director, James Lukose, said in a statement posted on its website that it “did not seek out Thomas Kokoraleis upon his release from prison. He came to us seeking our help.”

Lukose said the ministry hopes Kokoraleis becomes a productive member of society.

Kokoraleis was among four men accused of being part of the “Ripper Crew” satanic cult that killed as many as 20 Chicago-area women in the 1980s. He was initially sentenced to life in prison for the 1982 slaying of 21-year-old Lorraine “Lorry” Ann Borowski. Prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty on appeal in a deal that infuriated victims’ relatives but allowed for his release last week.

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