Conn. Priest Avoids Jail in Encounter with Boy, 16

Associated Press, carried in Boston Globe
March 10, 1994

PITTSFIELD -- A judge has ordered two years' probation but no jail time for a Connecticut priest convicted of a lesser charge in a sex case. Thomas K. Ahearn, 56, a Roman Catholic priest from Bethel, Conn., was sentenced Tuesday. He was cleared Monday of indecent assault and furnishing alcohol to a minor, but convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In addition to probation, Judge James B. McElroy of Central Berkshire District Court fined Ahearn $500 and ordered him to stay away from children for two years.

Ahearn had been accused of picking up the 16-year-old boy in January 1993 while visiting Berkshire County to ski. During the weeklong jury trial, prosecutors said he plied the teen-ager with alcohol and fondled him at a Lenox motel.

Ahearn admitted serving the boy Scotch whiskey, saying, "It's very poor judgment. It's not my practice."

Ahearn's lawyers said the boy, who was a runaway from a school for emotionally troubled boys, approached the priest and asked for help. Ahearn testified he took the boy back to his room to counsel him.


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