Ex-City Official in Sex Case Says Priest Abused Him

By Adele Delsavio
The Palladium Times [Oswego NY]
February 16, 2006

Former Oswego parks superintendent Robert Farrell, who's awaiting trial on morals charges, told a police officer that he was molested by a priest when he was young.

Farell made the allegation the day he was arrested on charges of communicating indecently with 12- and 13-year-old girls on AOL Instant Messenger using his office computer.

"(He) said he has reported the incident(s) to the Catholic church who in turn paid for six sessions of recent counseling and told him they had removed the priest from his parish and placed him in a separate living facility," reported Oswego Patrolman Joseph Brancato in court papers.

Farrell, 48, a Catholic, was arrested Aug. 3.

Speaking through his attorney, Jean Brown, Farrell declined Wednesday to name the priest or discuss details of the alleged molestation.

A second lawyer for Farrell, Mark David Blum, called the charges against him a "sexual witch hunt," by District Attorney Donald H. Dodd.

He said Dodd is attempting to make it appear there's a correleation between the charges against Farrell and those filed against ex-Mayor John Gosek. Farrell, he said, is innocent.

Farrell, of 104 W. Schuyler St. in Oswego, was indicted Friday by an Oswego County grand jury presided over by Judge Walter Hafner Jr.

He was indicted on seven counts of first-degree disseminating indecent material to minors, a class-D felony, and seven counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a class-A misdemeanor.

The indictments were based on charges that, on several occasions in 2002 and 2003, he had Instant Messenger conversations with a 12-year-old girl, a 13-year-old girl, and another girl who was under 17. In the discussions he discussed his private parts and asked for oral sex, court papers allege.

Farrell told police he began using computers in 1999 at a time he and his wife were having problems.

"We just had a lot of irreconcilable differences," he said in a statement.

He met a woman online, he left his wife, and the woman moved to Oswego, he said. When the relationship broke up, he said, he continued to use AOL Instant messenger and e-mail to "look for women."

"Sometimes the conversations would turn graphically sexual depending on how the conversation was going," he said.

Most of the times the women were adults but at times they were underage, he said, adding that he knew what he was doing was wrong.

"I can't believe the position I put those kids in with their parents. Looking back on it I don't know what I was thinking," he said.

He said he used the screen names "looker6968" and "BF121osw" for Instant Messenger; his e-mail had the same names followed by ""

Farrell said he never met any of the girls. "I wouldn't know them if I saw them," he said.

He said he had no interest in following through on the conversations; samples of the conversations in court documents are graphic.

"With the girls it was a game; I never intended it to be real," he said.

Officer Brancato said in his report that Farrell was careful in how he worded things when he was giving his statement.

"Several times he had me retype parts of the statement despite me having typed exactly what he had said initially. Farrell was obviously embarrassed over the nature of these contacts," Brancato said.

A motions hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 22 at Oswego County Court.

Brown said Wednesday Farrell had cooperated completely with investigators, giving a statement and allowing them to take all of his computers.

"How do they prove intent? He didn't think the girls were really that young. They'll probably recharge him with different crimes. It's just a game," she said.


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