Priest Sentenced for Molesting Boy

United Press International
September 26, 1989

A Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to molesting a 12-year-old boy was sentenced Monday to the maximum 18 months in prison, despite a plea for leniency by the victim's mother.

The Rev. Thomas McLaughlin, former pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany and St. Mary Church in Marion, was sentenced by Logan County Common Pleas Judge Ronald Hadley for attempted gross sexual imposition.

Hadley, who ordered McLaughlin, 58, to the Orient Correctional Reception Center for processing, pronounced sentence in a mostly empty courtroom.

"I don't think the timing had anything to do with keeping the press out," said Logan County Prosecutor Gerald Heaton. "I think it had more to do with keeping the numbers down on both sides, the pro and con. We didn't want the courtroom to take on a circus atmosphere. We could have had 15 people speaking for him and 25 against."

Heaton said he was "flabbergasted" that the victim's mother spoke on behalf of Mclaughlin.

"I can't recall, in my seven years of prosecuting cases, having the parent of a victim, especially a sexual abuse victim, speak in support of the perpetrator."

Heaton said tthe victim's mother told Hadley that she and her husband had talked to their son about the incident and that the boy was socializing and doing well in school.

McLaughlin, who founded the church in New Albany six years ago, recently underwent treatment at a Suitland, Md., hospital specializing in addictions and sexual disorders.


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