Garrettsville church burglar given probation, restitution

By Dave O'Brien | staff writer Published:

A Windham man who broke into the rectory of St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Garrettsville in June has been sentenced to probation and ordered to get mental health treatment.

Louis C. Baril, 45, of 9391 N. Main St., was sentenced Monday in Portage County Common Pleas Court to five years probation by Judge John Enlow. He also ordered Baril to get mental health treatment, submit to random drug testing and pay approximately $4,600 in restitution for damages he did to the church during the break-in.

Baril pleaded guilty to one count each of burglary, a third-degree felony, and vandalism, a fifth-degree felony, in September.

Portage County Public Defender Dennis Lager told Enlow that Baril was in "psychological and emotional distress" when he broke into the church rectory -- the priest's residence -- on Freedom Street in Garrettsville on June 24. He was quickly arrested by Garrettsville police.

Baril was "seeking help, but admittedly seeking it in the wrong way," Lager said.

Lager said Baril, who was leaning on a cane in court, has multiple sclerosis and is on Social Security disability.

Baril apologized to St. Ambrose Church and the Rev. Leo Wehrlin, pastor of the church. He said he committed the burglary at "a dark time in my life," and that his behavior was "unacceptable."

Charges of attempted breaking and entering, a first-degree misdemeanor, and criminal damaging, a second-degree misdemeanor, were dismissed by the Portage County Prosecutor's Office following Baril's guilty plea.

Baril's only prior felony conviction was for carrying a concealed handgun into a Windham bar in March 2008. He pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree felony and was sentenced to five years probation in that case, according to court records.

Follow Dave O'Brien on Twitter at @RCCrimeWatch

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or dobrien@recordpub.com

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