Priest Guilty of Sex Crime with Boy

United Press International
July 25, 1989

A Roman Catholic priest from the Columbus Diocese was convicted Monday in Logan County Common Pleas Court of attempted gross sexual imposition of a 12-year-old boy.

The Rev. Thomas L. McLaughlin, in a plea bargain, pleaded guilty on condition he would not be charged with crimes involving boys from other counties, including Franklin.

The 12-year-old was one of seven boys, six of them from Franklin County, that McLaughlin molested after befriending them and their families during church activities.

Franklin County Juvenile detective Terry Shepard said the molestations occurred at the priest's cottage at Russells Point, near Indian Lake.

Logan County Judge Ronald E. Hadley is expected to sentence McLaughlin next month. He could receive up to two years in prison.

McLaughlin, 58, currently is at St. Luke's Institutional Center in Suitland, Md., where he has been undergoing treatment since December.

He went to Maryland after being removed as pastor of the Church of the Resurection in New Albany in Franklin County. He helped found that church in 1983.

Shepard said the investigation, which began in January, was hampered because some victims were unwilling to talk. He also said the diocese would not allow investigators to talk to McLaughlin.

"It was really hard for most of these young men to really talk about it," said Shepard. "All the victims do not want to testify against a person they hold so highly."

He said the incidents went back at least 14 years.


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