Priest Gets Almost Five Years; Details Still a Secret

By Joline Gutierrez Krueger
Albuquerque Tribune (New Mexico)
September 21, 2002

A Roman Catholic priest says he might have broken the law, he might have sinned, but he never broke his vow of celibacy in connection with five charges linked to sexual misconduct with children.

The Rev. Robert Malloy, 45, was sentenced Friday to five years minus five days of probation after pleading no contest to five counts of attempted criminal solicitation to commit tampering with evidence.

But what Malloy is accused of doing still remains cloistered in documents sealed since his arrest nearly four years ago.

Plea agreement documents suggest, however, that Malloy acknowledged he had written letters of a sexual nature to five boys ages 13 to 15 between 1997 and 1998. In the letters, Malloy told each of the boys they should destroy the notes after reading them, the plea stated.

"This is not a case involving sexual contact with a minor; this is not an action in which he broke his vow," said Ray Twohig, Malloy's attorney. "These were anonymous letters, anonymous notes, anonymous activities that took place. They were wrong and they were dangerous if they had gone further, but they never did go further."

Chief Deputy District Attorney Joe Paone said they most likely would have if Malloy hadn't been arrested.

"It's safe to say had he not been caught it could have gone on to the next step," he said. "There's more history here than what he was charged with."

Malloy, now shed of his priestly collar, asked forgiveness of his victims, his family, his parishioners.

"I am truly sorry, and those are not hollow words," he said.

Outside the courtroom after the sentencing, an angry, unidentified woman barked to reporters, "It's a joke. It's a stinking joke."

Malloy, the former pastor of Queen of Heaven Catholic Church and a one-time Albuquerque police chaplain, must continue in therapy and attend counseling targeted specifically at sex offenders, state District Judge Frank Allen Jr. ruled Friday.

He also must not have unsupervised contact with minors.

Malloy was originally indicted in February 1999 on 42 counts that included hiring children for prostitution, criminal solicitation and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Allen is expected to rule whether court documents in the case can be unsealed so that the public will learn the nature of the charges.

Though Malloy retains the title of priest, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe has permanently restricted him from working at a parish or identifying himself in public as a man of the cloth.

The archdiocese continues to pay him a salary Twohig would describe only as a "pittance."

Malloy has not decided what he will do now that he is banned from his lifelong vocation as a Roman Catholic priest, Twohig said.

"He will develop some plans," he said. "But he won't hold a press conference to announce them."


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