Witness Shares Details of Child Sex Abuse Charges
By John Madewell
News Channel 9
March 6, 2012
A deacon at St. Jude Catholic church has been charged with sexual abuse of a five-year-old girl.
65-year-old Thomas McConnell is also over the Hamilton County school system's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program. Chattanooga police have charged McConnell with aggravated sexual battery.
The allegation is that McConnell repeatedly fondled the girl while dining at a north Chattanooga restaurant.
Ed Cagle and his wife Tammye were eating one table away. Tammye became so upset she started video-taping with her iPhone.
Ed Cagle was also very upset and had seen enough. He said, "By that time, I saw him put his hand in her pants and I just got up and just went over to his table and told him he needs to cut that out, that he was molesting that little girl."
McConnell has been temporarily suspended from ministry and also the JROTC position until the investigation is complete.
Father David Boettner of The Diocese of Knoxville said, "It's too early to make any kind of comment because it would only be speculation."
Hamilton County Schools suspended him without pay pending the outcome of the police investigation. He has worked for the school system since 1994 in different roles with the JROTC.
Stacy Stewart, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, reviewed McConnell's file and said there were no complaints in it.
NewsChannel 9 contacted McConnell but he declined to comment.