Priest Gets Acquitted of Molestation Charge

Hartford Courant
March 8, 1994

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Roman Catholic priest was acquited Monday of molesting a 16-year-old but convicted on a lesser charge. Thomas K. Ahearn, 56, of Bethel, Conn. was cleared of indecent assault and furnishing alcohol to a minor. He was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Ahearn was pastor of St. Pius X Church in Middletown from 1981-1984. Ahearn had been accused of picking the boy up in January 1993 while on a ski trip. He allegedly plied the boy with alcohol, fondled him, then took him to a motel in Lenox, where he fondled him. Ahearn admitted serving the boy Scotch whiskey, saying: "It's very poor judgment. It's not my practice." Ahearn's lawyers said the boy, who was a runaway from a school for emotionally troubled youths, approached the priest and asked for help. Ahearn testified that he took the boy back to his room to counsel him. A jury in Central Berkshire District Court took an hour to reach its verdict after a week-long trial before Judge James B. McElroy. Sentencing was set for 9:30 a.m. today. Ahearn was assigned to St. Mary's parish in Bethel when he was arrested Jan. 21, 1993. The Roman Catholic Diocese immediately relieved him of his duties.


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