Priest Officially Dismissed after Abuse of a Minor

By Luke Broadwater
May 20, 2008

BALTIMORE - A former Calvert Hall chaplain has been dismissed officially from the priesthood, three years after pleading guilty to abusing a minor, the archdiocese said.

At the request of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Pope Benedict XVI dismissed Jerome "Jeff" Toohey from the clerical state, according to a statement released this past week by the church.

Toohey, 62, of Lutherville, was removed from ministry and had his faculties to function as a priest removed in 1993, when the archdiocese received a credible allegation that he had molested a young man in the mid-to-late 1980s, the statement said.

Toohey denied the allegation at that time, but has been restricted from any form of ministry since 1993.

In November 2005, Toohey pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court to sexually abusing a minor in the late 1980s to early 1990s.

His work included serving as a chaplain at Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore City from 1982 to 1993, according to the statement.

During the 1980s to early 1990s, Toohey also served on the board of directors for the John Carroll School in Bel Air and assisted at St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Hydes.

A priest who has been dismissed from the clerical state, or " defrocked," is permanently removed from ministry and from ever again functioning as a priest, in public or private, the archdiocese said.

"The Archdiocese is committed to protecting children and helping to heal victims of abuse," Archbishop Edwin O'Brien said in a statement. " We are deeply sorry for the pain suffered by survivors of abuse due to the actions of clergy."

Archdiocese officials urged anyone with knowledge of child sexual abuse to come forward and report it immediately to authorities.



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