Porn Charge for Priest
Images of Kids Found on Li Clergyman's Computer; Feds Say He Had Online Chats with Cops Posing As Teens

By John Moreno Gonzales
Newsday [Long Island NY]
November 18, 2006,0,6560701.story?coll=ny-linews-print

Federal agents arrested a Roman Catholic priest based in Roosevelt Friday on child pornography charges after authorities said he stored 1,300 sexually explicit images of children on his rectory computer and engaged in sexually laced chats with detectives posing as teenage boys.

The Rev. Thomas G. Saloy, 45, an administrator at the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church in Roosevelt, was arrested Friday morning after a yearlong investigation, authorities said, in which he used America Online screen names to talk to minors about sex and set up exchanges of child pornography with adults and youths.

Saloy made a "suicidal gesture" during his arrest, federal prosector Allen L. Bode said Friday during the bespectacled cleric's arraignment in U.S. District Court in Central Islip. Magistrate Michael L. Orenstein ordered Saloy confined to a psychological ward at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre until Nov. 27. Orenstein cited a court agreement and said Saloy would then be transferred pending further proceedings to the St. Luke Institute in Silver Spring, Md., which has treated clerics for sexual disorders.

Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer, whose detectives aided the investigation, said: "A person in a position of trust in the community, a priest, is being charged with this crime. Parents must be ever vigilant to protect children from sexual predators."

At a regular Friday prayer group at the Roosevelt church, several parishioners were stunned by the arrest.

"I can't believe it," said Maria Martinez, 34, of Roosevelt. "You never know what someone is thinking inside."

Bode would not comment further on the suicide threat. Saloy's attorney, Peter Rubin of Rockville Centre, only said: "He tried to kill himself," adding that he didn't know how.

Saloy's mother, sister, and brother sat in the first row of the courtroom and left without commenting. The Diocese of Rockville Centre issued a news release a few hours after the arrest, stating that the priest had been placed on administrative leave in which he "may not wear clerical garb ... and may not celebrate Mass in public."

The written statement from diocese spokesman Sean P. Dolan on behalf of Bishop William Murphy urged the public to "please pray for healing during this most difficult time."

According to the Diocese of Rockville Centre directory of priests, Saloy was ordained in 1988 and has also been associate pastor at Our Lady of Grace Roman Catholic Church in West Babylon, St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in East Islip, and the Parish of St. Raphael in East Meadow.

St. Raphael was where Matthew Maiello, a former youth director, worked when he pleaded guilty in July 2003 to raping and sodomizing four teens he supervised. Saloy served there, according to the directory, from 1988 to 1993.

According to the 8-page complaint against Saloy:

He used at least three AOL screen names to initiate illicit chats with boys he believed to be minors and to exchange child pornography.

Saloy was first implicated in September 2005 when FBI agents searched a Milwaukee residence during an investigation in pornography trading on AOL. They followed an online trail leading to the priest's computer.

During his arrest Saloy "admitted that he had a sexual interest in 15 to 16-year-old boys ... and that he occasionally received images of very young children, which he deleted."

A search of computer equipment at Saloy's rectory quarters revealed the 1,300 still images and video clips, which included depictions of children under 15, some pre-pubescent.

"Like so many others, this case shows that the Catholic church's sex abuse scandal is far from over," said David Clohessy, national director of St. Louis-based SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

If convicted, Saloy faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

Staff writer Jennifer Sinco Kelleher contributed to this story.


September 2005

The probe begins after the FBI finds an e-mail a Milwaukee man sent to Saloy with three attached photos. One shows two nude boys fondling each other.

June 19, 2006

Suffolk police begin to chat with Saloy in "Gayfathers," an AOL chat room. Police say Saloy told a detective that he was a 43-year-old bisexual man with three teenage sons. Cops and Saloy exchanged photos of shirtless boys.

Sept. 20

Police say Saloy, claiming that he was a 15-year-old boy from Long Island, chats with a Suffolk cop posing as a 16-year-old boy. Saloy asked the "boy" to "tell me something really kewl and private and a secrte."

Nov. 9

The FBI executes a search warrant at the rectory of Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church. During the search, police say Saloy admits he has an interest in 15- to 16-year-old boys. Saloy tells police he deleted images of younger children.

Source: Arrest warrant affidavit


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