Ex-Wonder Lake business owner charged with sexual abuse of a minor is denied release from jail

Alleged victim knew Alan Mrowka through Wonder Lake Ski Team, prosecutor said

Alan Mrowka

Citing his Dec. 4 arrest in Florida on a McHenry County warrant, a judge Friday ordered Alan Mrowka of Wonder Lake to remain in jail pending his trial on a sexual abuse charge.

Mrowka, 69, is charged with a single count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child younger than 13. He appeared in McHenry County court for a pretrial detention hearing Friday.

“I don’t want the defendant to leave the state,” Judge Michael Chmiel said.

Mrowka had been held in jail in Lee County, Florida, pending his extradition. His attorney, David Franks, said he believed Mrowka was brought back to Illinois on Thursday, the day records show he was booked into the McHenry County jail.

Assistant State’s Attorney Sophia Dinkel argued Friday that Mrowka was a flight risk, as he was arrested out of state, as well as a danger to the community.

I don’t want the defendant to leave the state.”

—  McHenry County Judge Michael Chmiel

The charge alleges that Mrowka “grabbed the buttocks” of the minor around 1996, Dinkel said.

The prosecutor said that the sheriff’s office also received “10 different reports” from other people who alleged long-ago misconduct by Mrowka. Dinkel said Mrowka “would have been charged but for the statute of limitations” on those alleged incidents.

All of the allegations, Dinkel said, came from people who are now adults in their 40s who had been involved with the Wonder Lake Water Ski Show Team in their youth.

The prosecutor said some of the allegations that did not result in charges because of the statute of limitations included sexual contact with and buying alcohol for boys Mrowka knew through the water ski team.

Mrowka also pleaded guilty in 1984 to a count of contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor in McHenry County and received probation, the prosecutor said.

Dinkel did not say what connection Mrowka had with the ski team. Mrowka also is the former owner of Wonder Foods grocery store in Wonder Lake.

Franks argued that allegations not tied to the charge against his client should not factor into whether Mrowka was released pending his trial. Franks noted that most of the allegations are from the 1980s and 1990s.

“It was almost three decades ago,” Franks said, adding that Mrowka no longer is associated with the water ski team.

His client owns a home in Wonder Lake and was “wintering” in Florida when the charges were brought forth, Franks said.

The other allegations “are absolutely horrific, traumatic and amazing, in the negative sense,” Chmiel said, noting that there is a presumption of innocence, too, and that he could not hold Mrowka because of them.

But for “someone approaching 70 years of age” or facing similar charges, ”many people might leave the state,” Chmiel said.

Mrowka’s next court date was set for Jan. 17.