D.C. Priest Gets 22 Years for Molesting Va. Boy, 13
Md. Charges Involving 2nd Boy Pending

By Stephanie Griffith
Washington Post
May 24, 1991

A Washington priest was sentenced yesterday to 22 years in prison for seven felonies involving sexual assaults on a 13-year-old Arlington boy.

In handing down the sentence, Arlington Circuit Judge Paul F. Sheridan said that Thomas Chleboski Jr., who until December was a priest at Our Lady of Victory Church in Northwest Washington, had been guilty of the "victimization of younger minds and more malleable souls."

The judge said he had received "strong statements of support" for Chleboski from parishioners, but imposed the prison sentence because the priest showed "very little feeling or sympathy or compassion for what he did to the victim."

Chleboski pleaded guilty in March to one charge of solicitation to commit a felony, three charges of sodomy and three of "taking indecent liberties," or fondling the youth.

Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Richard Trodden said Chleboski will likely become eligible for parole in three to four years.

Chleboski could have received 35 years in prison for the offenses, which stemmed from a three-month sexual relationship he carried on with the youth from last September to December. Each of the assaults took place in the boy's Arlington home.

He also had pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court to molesting the boy at Our Lady of Victory school.

Chleboski still faces 10 felony sex and child assault charges in Montgomery County stemming from his alleged involvement with another boy at the Shrine of St. Jude Church in Rockville, where Chleboski served as a deacon and priest from 1985 to 1988.

At yesterday's sentencing hearing, Chleboski testified that he had had a two-year relationship with another youth shortly after finishing his studies at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania in 1982.

Trodden introduced evidence that in the case pending in Maryland, Chleboski assumed a "big brother type of role" to the youth, vacationing with his family and taking the boy on overnight trips. The priest's real purpose, the prosecutor said, was to make sexual advances to the youth. Trodden testified in March that a similar approach was used to win over the family of the Arlington boy.

Entered into evidence during the hearing was a copy of a pornographic videotape Chleboski admitted having shown to the youths before engaging in sexual relations with them.

Eileen Marx, an Archdiocese of Washington spokeswoman, said Chleboski officially is still a priest, but "the court has been advised by the archdiocese that Father Chleboski will never function again as a priest in this archdiocese or elsewhere."


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