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Crime & Courts

Ottawa harassment defendant looking for priest

Gary N. Rowley
Gary N. Rowley

An Ottawa man, charged with harassment, is trying to get hold of a one-time local priest to help his case.

Gary N. Rowley, 64, was charged in February 2018 with harassing a robbery victim.

Rowley's daughter, Deanna Rowley, 35, robbed an 82-year-old woman in October 2017 outside an Ottawa business. Deanna went to prison for the crime.

While his daughter's case was pending, Rowley tried to call the victim at a suburban hospital where the victim was about to undergo a medical procedure, with the aim of harassing her, according to police.

Rowley's trial was to begin Jan. 14, but his attorney, Liam Dixon, of Aurora, asked for more time Friday, because he is trying to subpoena the Rev. Jeffrey Windy to testify on Rowley's behalf, but hasn't been able to find the priest.

Windy ministered at St. Patrick, St. Columba and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic churches in Ottawa, from June 2017 until he was removed in early 2018. Windy was relieved of duties, because he involved himself in Rowley's attempt to contact the victim, without telling his superiors, according to church officials.

Rowley was Windy's parishoner. Windy has been in federal prison for making and distributing illegal steroids.

Dixon also said he wants the harassment charge thrown out, on grounds prosecutors have given no indication any call to the robbery victim was made from La Salle County. As a consequence, the charge cannot be prosecuted in the county, in Dixon's view.

Circuit Judge Cynthia Raccuglia canceled trial Jan. 14, and set a hearing for Friday, Feb. 8, to address matters raised by Dixon.

Rowley, who is free on bond, also has a battery charge pending in a separate matter. In the battery case, Rowley is accused of pressing his forearm into a pregnant woman's chest and pushing her backward in July 2017.

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