Nab Rev. with 1,300 Kid Porn Pix

By Richard Weir and John Marzulli
New York Daily News [Long Island NY]
November 18, 2006

A popular Long Island priest was arrested yesterday on child pornography charges after investigators raided a church rectory and found his computer packed with dirty pictures.

Authorities said the Rev. Thomas Saloy tried to kill himself earlier this week after the FBI discovered 1,300 still photographs and video clips of children engaged in sexually explicit activities.

The frail-looking 45-year-old pleaded not guilty yesterday in a federal court in Central Islip to criminal charges that could put him in prison for 10 years.

Federal Magistrate Michael Orenstein ordered Saloy held in a hospital psychiatric ward.

The news of Saloy's arrest shocked parishioners at Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church in Roosevelt, where he had served as administrator since June.

"I have no idea whether it is a mental illness or a moral failing," said Jeanne Marie Scott, 72, a member of the parish senior clubs. "None of us are perfect. That's what Catholics do, forgive people."

"I'm hurt to hear something like that. I felt that he was a very good priest," said a parishioner standing outside the rectory who declined to give his name.

Saloy came to the attention of authorities recently after a kiddie-porn peddler was busted in Milwaukee. Agents traced e-mail messages to Saloy's AOL account, according to a criminal complaint.

He allegedly trolled for teen boys in Internet chat rooms called Gayfathers and Dudes4dudes, seeking sexually explicit images, and admitted he "went online posing as a 15-year-old boy to engage other 15-year-old boys in sexual chats," the complaint states.

Saloy, ordained in 1988, has been placed on administrative leave and may not present himself as a priest in public pending the outcome of the investigation, according to Sean Dolan, a spokesman for the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

He added that there were no prior allegations of misconduct against him.

The diocese, which has 1.5 million Catholics, was one of the centers of the priest-abuse scandal in the U.S. A grand jury in 2003 found dozens of priests allegedly abused children across Long Island, but no indictments were handed down because the statutes of limitations had expired long ago.

Saloy's defense lawyer, Peter Rubin, did not dispute the charges, but he added there was no evidence the priest had abused children.


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