Former School Chaplain Faces Charges of Abuse

By Jennifer Przydzial
North East Booster [Maryland]
June 22, 2005

A former Roman Catholic priest who was a chaplain at Calvert Hall College High School from 1982-93 has been formally charged with sexually abusing a student, according to Baltimore County police.

Jerome Toohey, 59, of Lutherville, was accused in December of sexually abusing a former student from 1987 to 1989, according to charging documents.

On May 26, those accusations led to three charges being filed against Toohey - child abuse, a third-degree sex offense and perverted practice.

The first offense carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and the maximum for the other two is 10 years imprisonment.

The perverted practice charge could also result in a $1,000 fine, according to the documents.

Late in 2004, a former Calvert Hall student contacted the Archdiocese of Baltimore and alleged he had been abused by Toohey, according to the charging documents.

The Archdiocese referred the case to the Baltimore County state's attorney's office and the Baltimore County police department.

The police department received the referral on Dec. 2, 2004, and contacted the former student, the documents state.

He agreed to an interview with police on Feb. 4, 2005, according to charging documents.

During the interview, the student said he first met Toohey at his mother's 25th high school reunion.

The student told police he told Toohey he had applied to Calvert Hall, but had not been accepted.

He said his mother asked Toohey if he could get her son into the school, which he eventually did, the charging documents said.

During his sophomore year, the student's personal problems at home prompted him to begin counseling sessions at Toohey's home on Cottage Lane in Loch Raven.

The former student said he would spend the night at Toohey's house, which is within walking distance of Calvert Hall.

From his sophomore year and into his junior year, the former student said he spent nights at Toohey's house and shared a bed with him. This was when the alleged sexual abuse occurred, the former student said.

In 1988, the former student said he began to keep journals. He said during the interview that Toohey also kept a journal and the student wanted to "emulate him."

In those journals, the former student marked the dates when a sexual incident occurred, the charging documents said.

The police have the journals.

According to the charging documents, the former student said he is coming forward now because he realizes that Toohey took advantage of him during a vulnerable time of his life and he doesn't want Toohey to do this anyone else, charging documents said.

Toohey declined to be interviewed by police.

Andrew Graham, his lawyer, did not return phone calls seeking comment. Nor did Calvert Hall.

This is not the first time Toohey has been accused of sexual abuse, according to the Archdiocese of Baltimore's list of clergy accused of child sexual abuse and published in the Sept. 26, 2002 edition of The Sun.

According to that list, in 1993, a former student at John Carroll School, a Catholic school in Bel Air, sued Toohey for sexual abuse. Toohey was on the board of directors at John Carroll at that time.

Toohey denied those allegations.

No criminal charges were brought and the case was dropped because state law requires civil suits must be filed within three years of the alleged abuse.

However, the Archdiocese of Baltimore still removed him from the ministry and the ability to function as the priest.

That meant he had to leave his chaplain's position at Calvert Hall.

In addition to being a chaplain at Calvert Hall, Toohey was at St. Francis of Assisi in Baltimore City from 1977 to 1984.

He also served as a chaplain to the deaf community from 1984 to 1993.

He assisted at St. John in Hydes in the 1980s and early '90s, according to the dioceses.