A registered Violent Offender Against Youth is facing charges after he was accused of dressing up as a Cub Scout and attending a Scout meeting in Lake Zurich where young children were present, prosecutors said.
Neil J. Pawelczak, 40, of the 2200 block of Aloha Drive in McHenry, was charged with two counts of violating the sex offender registry, a Class 4 felony.
Court records show a warrant was issued for Pawelczak on Wednesday.
Pawelczak surrendered to the Lake Zurich Police Department on Thursday, his attorney Vanessa Sheehan said.
During a bond hearing Thursday, Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak said that Pawelczak attended a Boy Scout meeting dressed in a Boy Scout leader uniform, despite not actually being a Boy Scout leader.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Caitlin Valiulis clarified that the event was a Cub Scout meeting, not a Boy Scout meeting. “The only distinction there obviously is that these are younger children.”
Potkonjak said that Pawelczak was not supposed to be at the meeting because he is on the registry for the Violent Offender Against Youth Act.
Court records show Pawelczak was convicted in 2005 of unlawfully restraining a 10-year-old child in Round Lake Beach when he was 22 years old.
As part of his sentence, he was ordered to register as a sex offender. His sex offender registry was later transferred to the Violent Offender Against Youth registry.
Sheehan argued during the bond hearing that Pawelczak had permission from the Illinois State Police to attend the Scout meeting.
Sheehan said Pawelczak was attending the Scout meeting for his stepson.
“He’s not supposed to be around kids. It’s not a difficult thing to understand. It’s still the law that he has to abide by. He chose not to. He chose to flaunt it, quite honestly, as there was a picture,” Valiulis said.
Potkonjak said that parents who saw Pawelczak attend the event took photos of him and complained about his presence. The Lake Zurich Police Department was then notified.
In 2014, Pawelczak was charged with failing to register as a sex offender after he failed to notify the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office of a temporary absence from his residence in McHenry. He was convicted of the charge in 2015 and sentenced to jail time.
Potkonjak ordered Pawelczak held in the Lake County Jail on a $75,000 bond for his latest charges. Pawelczak was released after posting $7,500 cash.
A status of preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 2.