Priest Indicted for Pedophilia Case
By Sonsyrea Tate
The Rev. Thomas Chleboski, 31, was indicted by an Arlington County grand jury late Monday for fondling and sexually abusing an adolescent who lives in South Arlington and who attended Our Lady of Victory Elementary School, located at 4755 Whitehaven Parkway NW in the District.
Charges against Father Chleboski stem from incidents that reportedly occurred between September and December in the boy's home during the daytime while his mother, a single parent, was at work, according to Arlington County police spokesman Officer Thomas Bell.
Father Chleboski, according to Officer Bell, taught religion, health and sex education classes at the parochial school. A former parishioner said the priest also was in charge of the altar boys at Our Lady of Victory Church.
School Principal Susan Molloy declined to comment on the case. Officials at the church and at the Archdiocese of Washington referred inquiries to attorney Paul F. Interdonato.
Mr. Interdonato issued a written statement explaining that Father Chleboski was put on administrative leave and sent to the Servants of the Paraclete
Hospital in New Mexico for spiritual advice and counseling.
"As soon as allegations of pedophilia involving a member of the clergy are brought to the attention of the archdiocese, appropriate procedures for handling such cases are immediately implemented," the statement said. "At the same time, the church also seeks to reach out to the alleged victim and family, offering both pastoral and pyschological help."
Father Chleboski's personal attorney, Timothy Battle, said his client denies all the allegations.
Police would not release the identity of the boy or his mother.
"The mother became concerned about the close relationship between her son and the priest, with him taking the boy places, buying gifts and calling him every night, talking at length," Officer Bell said. The mother reportedly contacted the school principal, and later Cardinal James A. Hickey, archbishop of Washington.
Officer Bell said police have been unable to locate Father Chleboski to make an arrest and that efforts to reach him have been stalemated since Jan. 8 when the mother first brought the allegations to the attention of police. Father Chleboski will be deemed a fugitive if he does not come forth by today, police said.
But Mr. Battle said arrangements were under way yesterday to respond to the arrest warrant.
Father Chleboski formerly was assigned to St. Martin School in Gaithersburg.
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