Expert on Molesters / Priest, Now Arrested, Was Authority in 93 Case

By Mohamad Bazzi
June 14, 1996

A priest accused of taking nude photos of a 15-year-old boy represented himself in a Family Court case as an expert on child sex offenders, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

Investigators found a 1993 letter sent by the Rev. Thomas Morrow, a licensed psychologist on leave from the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, to Family Court in which he makes an expert recommendation regarding a sex abuse case.

"I am qualified in the assessment and treatment of alleged and actual male sex offenders," Morrow wrote in the letter, according to sources.

He goes on to say that, in his "professional opinion," the defendant in the case was not a sex offender.

Morrow also submitted a second letter in the same case stating that he had given "training sessions on the dynamics and treatment of the male sex offender" at a social service agency, sources said. That letter was signed by a social worker from the agency.

Investigators do not know whether Morrow represented himself as an expert in other court cases.

Morrow, 51, was arraigned Wednesday on charges of third-degree obscenity, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was released on his own recognizance.

Morrow has been counseling the teenager about problems at school. According to a complaint filed by the Queens District Attorney's office, Morrow allegedly called the teen June 6 and asked him if he wanted to make extra money by doing chores at Morrow's house in Rego Park. The victim was taking a shower when Morrow snapped pictures of him. The boy later contacted authorities.

When police arrested Morrow on Tuesday, authorities said they found more than 150 obscene photographs in his house, including pictures of nude children and actual or simulated sexual acts, according to the complaint. Investigators also found pornographic material in Morrow's Forest Hills office.

Morrow was the victim of a crime in 1993, according to law enforcement officials. Initially, he told police that he was forced into his office at knifepoint by two men, who then handcuffed him and forced him to perform sexual acts, law-enforcement officials said.

Morrow later admitted to police that he had picked up the men for sex and took them to his office, where they smoked crack together, sources said. The men handcuffed Morrow, then robbed him. Morrow sustained several cuts during the assault.

Morrow was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1971. He has been on a leave of absence from the Brooklyn Diocese since 1987, according to spokesman Frank DeRosa. "We've never had an accusation or a complaint against him," DeRosa said.

In August, 1985, Morrow was licensed as a psychologist by the state Department of Education. Investigators are looking into unspecified disciplinary action taken against him last June.


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