Priest Accused of Molestation Enters Plea

By Diane Struzzi
Hartford Courant [Connecticut]
August 9, 2000

Bristol — A Catholic priest charged with sexually molesting two boys in Southington pleaded guilty Tuesday in Superior Court to risk of injury to a minor as part of a plea agreement.

Robert P. Pelkington, 59, will face a three-year suspended sentence and 10 years of probation if a judge accepts the plea agreement at a sentencing hearing scheduled for Sept. 28, according to Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney Stephen G. Preleski.

The plea agreement came after lengthy consultations with the guardian of the victims, a 13-year-old boy and an 11-year-old boy. Pelkington also must register as a sex offender and continue treatment as conditions of the agreement, Preleski said.

Pelkington's attorney, Hubert Santos of Hartford, could not be reached for comment.

Pelkington, a priest of the Dominican Order, did not have a parish in Southington, but authorities say he was acquainted with the victims. In February Pelkington turned himself in to police after he was charged with third-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor in connection with an incident in April 1999. He was also charged with risk of injury to a minor and disorderly conduct for an incident that occurred between December 1998 and March 1999.

At the time of his arrest, he was living in St. Luke Institute, a Maryland psychiatric facilty for Catholic clergy. Between 1995 and 1999 he was a priest in Valhalla, N.Y., at the Holy Name of Jesus Church. During that time he helped run Marriage Encounters weekends in New York, Connecticut and other states. He was known to pilot a hot-air balloon in Connecticut to publicize the church-sponsored program, which provided help for couples seeking to improve their marriages.


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