Priest Pleads Guilty in Child Porn Case
By John Moreno Gonzales
Newsday [New York]
November 30, 2006
A Catholic priest based in Roosevelt pleaded guilty Thursday to possession of child pornography and acknowledged grappling with sexually compulsive behavior years before his arrest.
Thomas G. Saloy admitted in a steady voice to Judge Joseph F. Bianco that he kept at least three sexually explicit images of minors in his rectory computer. The felony plea could cost Saloy, 45, up to 10 years in prison or a psychological treatment facility. He was suspended by the church after his Nov. 17 arrest and has been confined to a psychological ward at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre since then.
"After the FBI investigation began, I took an overdose of pills and slit my wrists," the slightly built cleric said, looking straight at the judge who asked him several questions about his mental state in preparation for sentencing on March 23.
Saloy served for nearly a decade at Our Lady of Grace Roman Catholic Church in West Babylon before transferring to Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church in Roosevelt earlier this year. He told the judge in the same matter of fact voice that he sought counseling for sexual impulses as early as 2000, when he joined Sexual Compulsives Anonymous.
"What you see is a person who is accepting responsibility," Saloy's lawyer, Peter Rubin of Rockville Centre, said after the plea in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.
But Barbara Dorris, outreach director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, wondered if that were true.
"We're glad that Father Saloy has admitted his sex crimes and compulsions, and hope he is telling the full truth," she said. "We also hope that his parishioners and colleagues ask others, especially children, if Father Saloy ever hurt them."
Sean Dolan, a spokesman for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, said "nothing indicated Father Saloy had any such compulsion" before his arrest.
"We've been transparent with all the parishes that Father Saloy has served in and raised awareness of sexual abuse," Dolan said.
Saloy was ordained in 1988 and has also served at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in East Islip and the Parish of St. Raphael in East Meadow.
At the time of his arrest, prosecutors said Saloy stored 1,300 sexually explicit images of minors on his rectory computer. But in court Thursday, prosecutor Allen L. Bode acknowledged that many of the images were duplicates or items that Saloy had not actively solicited.
But Bode emphasized that he could prove Saloy downloaded at least three items and had viewed one video of child pornography just days before his arrest.
Bianco ordered that Saloy be held for now at St. Luke Institute in Silver Spring, Md., a facility that has treated clerics for sexual disorders. Bianco ordered that he have no access to children, the Internet or the outside world while there.
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