Priest charged with helping notorious Chicago mobster

Former prison chaplain Fr Eugene Klein has been charged with helping a notorious Chicago mobster sneak messages out of jail and trying to recover a valuable Stradivarius violin.

The aim was to keep the government from getting it, prosecutors said.

Bishop of Wiaona diocese Rev John Quinn has suspended the Rev Eugene Klein from his priestly duties and has expressed his sorrow at the incident.

Klein ministered to former Chicago Outfit hit man Frank Calabrese Sr, (photo above) who is serving a life sentence at a federal prison in Missouri for 13 murders.

Calabrese was among five mobsters jailed after his son Frank Calabrese Jr agreed to wear a wire for the FBI.

Calabrese is barred from having contact with anyone outside the prison except his lawyer, a priest and certain immediate family members, but the mobster managed to use Klein to get the word out by passing the priest messages through the food slot in his cell.

He also convinced Klein to speak with two unnamed individuals to help them find the violin, which he told the priest was worth millions and was hidden in Calabrese’s Wisconsin house.

“There are a lot of unprecedented parts of this case. This is another one,” retired FBI agent James Wagner said of the investigation. “I would guess this is not the first time this has happened, but this is the first time I can remember a priest getting indicted for it.”

The government had already seized more than $1 million in cash, jewelry and other items from Calabrese’s Illinois home and had also put the Wisconsin house up for sale to help cover the cost of the $4.4 million in restitution Calabrese owed to the families of his victims.

It wasn’t clear from the indictment what Klein stood to gain from the plot for which he faces up to 10 years in jail and a $500,000 fine.





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