Man Berates Priest During Morning Mass, School Re-Evaluates Safety Precautions
A man was charged after interrupting Mass with students from St. Alexander's present.
Charges have been filed after a man stormed into morning Mass and shouted 'violent threats' at the priest.
The incident occurred during the 8:30 a.m. Mass on March 26 at St. Alexander's Church in Palos Heights. William Malysa, of the 12800 block of Irving in Blue Island, was charged with disorderly conduct.
During the 8:45 a.m. Mass, Malysa walked up the center aisle and began yelling at the priest, said Sergeant Tim Holder. Malysa used profanity and claimed that he was Jesus. He also made statements that had veiled physical threats, Holder said.
The entire incident lasted about 40 seconds. Malysa then left the church and was seen driving away in a silver SUV, Holder said.
Several hours later officers noticed a man walking about four blocks away from the church who they recognized as being a former Palos Heights resident, Holder said. A check of driving records revealed that he owned a silver SUV.
On March 30 police questioned Malysa at his home. When asked if he was at the church on Monday he replied, "Yeah, but that's my business," Holder said.
Witnesses positively identified him, Holder said. Malysa is not allowed near the church or school and faces charges if he comes near church property, Holder said.
St. Alexander School took precautions after the incident, according to a notice disseminated to parents by principal Cathy Biel. The school is placed in lock down from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. while Mass is occurring and students will not attend Mass with the general public until further notice.
Palos Heights police officers will also be stationed at the school at certain times throughout the day as they have been doing for the past week, Holder said.
Other security precautions detailed in the letter are as follows:
- The security system has been repaired.
- Recess for all students has been moved to a more secure area behind the school building. Teachers and staff will continue to supervise recess and keep their cell phones with them. There is a two-way radio outside for communication with the front office.
- Gym classes will stay indoors.
- Faculty has addressed student concerns.
- The possible installation of glass doors that would close the school off from the church vestibule will be explored.