Long Island Priest Is Arrested on Sex Abuse Charges

By Frank Eltman
amNew York
March 12, 2008,0,7126349.story

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. - The pastor of a Roman Catholic parish who was placed on administrative leave last year was arrested Wednesday on misdemeanor sex abuse and forcible-touching charges, prosecutors said.

The Rev. Gerald S. Twomey, of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Manorhaven, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in First District Court in Central Islip and was released on his own recognizance. He is due back in court May 1.

Twomey is accused of accosting a man in a private home in Islip in March 2006, said Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.

Twomey, 53, was suspended as pastor of the Manorhaven parish last June amid allegations he had abused a 10-year-old boy more than a decade earlier. Since being placed on administrative leave, Twomey "has not presented himself as a priest in public" and his been in a "supervised setting," Diocese of Rockville Centre spokesman Sean Dolan said.

"We're saddened by the news any time a priest is arrested," said Dolan, who added the diocese is cooperating with law enforcement.

Twomey's defense attorney did not return a telephone call seeking comment Wednesday.

In a May 31, 2007, letter to prosecutors, the diocese's Office for the Protection of Children and Young People said the allegations against Twomey regarding the boy stemmed from an incident "in the period of 1994-95" while he served as co-pastor of St. Anne Church in Brentwood.

Clifford said he had no information on the results of that investigation, other than to note the statute of limitations for sex abuse was five years at the time, so prosecutors were not likely to file criminal charges.

A Suffolk County grand jury report in early 2003 cited abuse cases involving 23 priests in the Rockville Centre diocese over several decades. The allegations included altar boys being groped and sodomized during church trips and overnight stays at priests' homes and many other instances when children were left alone with their abusers. None of those cases was prosecuted _ also because statutes of limitations had expired.


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