Nun Not Guilty in Traffic Crash
Nun Allowed to Wear Habit during Trial Despite Prosecution Objections
Sister Marie Marot (Chicago Tribune image)
The jury acquitted Sister Marie Marot, a member of the Fraternite Notre Dame order, after a two-day trial at the Kane County Courthouse in Geneva.
The defense called no one to the witness stand after the prosecution rested its case Tuesday.
Marot was accused of running a red light as she was driving home to the order's convent in Chicago early in the morning of Oct. 7, 2007, after working during the previous day and into the night at the Algonquin pastry shop operated by the order's nuns.
The van Marot was driving struck a car in the intersection of Randall Road and Illinois Route 72. Marot claimed the signal was green as she drove south on Randall, her lawyer has said.
But Alexis Pena, the driver of the car Marot hit, testified Monday she -- not the nun -- had the green light. A passenger in Pena's car, 16-year-old Keith Forbes of Carpentersville, died in the collision.
On Tuesday, Miguel Realzola testified he was driving on Randall Road behind Marot and saw her van go through a red light without slowing down.
Marot only was charged with running the red light. The jury did not hear testimony about Forbes' death because Kane County Judge Ron Matekaitis decided it could overly prejudice the trial.
Though Marot is not charged in connection with Forbes' death, her attorney believes the outcome of the trial could have an impact on a civil suit that Forbes' family has filed.
Marot again Tuesday was accompanied to court by several members of her order. Matekaitis ruled Friday that Marot could wear her habit during the trial, despite the objections of the prosecution, which said her traditional religious garb could prejudice the jury.
The Fraternite Notre Dame is a "traditional Catholic" order not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican. Founded in 1977, the order celebrates the Tridentine mass, a historic form of Latin liturgy.
(The Chicago Tribune contributed to this report)
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