Community gathers as Bucktown bat beating victims heal; Heriberto Viramontes guilty on all counts in 2010 attack on Natasha McShane, Stacy Jurich

A community comes together to help two women who were robbed and attacked with a bat reach a point of healing and forgiveness.
October 28, 2013 5:59:52 AM PDT
A community came together to help two women who were robbed and attacked with a bat to reach a point of healing and forgiveness.

Just days after their attacker was convicted, Stacy Jurich and the family of Natasha McShane gathered for an emotional Sunday mass.

Supporters of Natasha McShane came together Sunday once again, this time to celebrate the guilty verdict of her attacker and to pray for her family as she continues a difficult recovery.

With prayer, the community seeks healing and forgiveness as they gather for a Sunday mass in support of Natasha McShane, the Irish exchange student left severely injured after she and a friend, Stacy Jurich, were beaten with a baseball bat during a brutal robbery.

"Natasha and Stacy have been scarred," said John Gorski, Irish American Heritage Center.

Many of those in attendance at Sunday morning's service are from Chicago's tight-knit Irish community.

Among them were several from McShane's hometown of Silverbridge.

Joe McShane, who is no relation to Natasha, knew her grandfather.

"I visited her there a couple of months ago in Ireland. She's not in good shape," he said.

Natasha McShane's mother and other relatives received communion at Sunday's mass at the Irish American Heritage Center after Father Karl Langsdorf asked for prayers for the two victims and for a city troubled by violence.

Last week, a jury found Heriberto Viramontes guilty of the April 2010 Bucktown neighborhood attack.

McShane was hit in the head with a baseball bat, leaving her unable to walk or talk.

"To hear their words of thanks, in recognition to the people in the city and the first responders for all of their work and their efforts, it touched me," said prosecutor Peg Ogarek.

McShane's friend, Stacy Jurich, also continues to recover and hopes and is touched by the outpouring of support.

"We pulled up Natasha on Skype and it was really great to be able to look at her and tell her that we got him," she said.

Although McShane returned to Ireland, Stacy hopes to get to see her best friend in person and he's going to be able to do that soon.

She found out Sunday the Irish American Heritage Center is paying her way to Ireland so she can see Natasha. No plans have been finalized yet.

And while Stacy makes plans for her trip to Ireland, she, with the help from her fiance, continues to recover.

Stacy has returned to work, but suffers from severe headaches and reduced vision.

To help with health care costs, the Irish American Heritage Center has raised for money for Natasha and Stacy.

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