Ex-priest accused of sexual abuse by former student

Sexual MisconductCrime, Law and JusticeTrials and ArbitrationSocial IssuesAbusive BehaviorSexual AssaultRoman Catholicism

A former Roman Catholic priest who was accused in January of sexually abusing a former Calvert Hall College student has been charged in Baltimore County, according to charging documents.

Jerome F. Toohey Jr. is accused of abusing the student between 1987 and 1989 when Toohey was a chaplain at the boys high school in Towson. He was charged May 26 with child abuse, third-degree sex offense and perverted practice, and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing next month, according to charging documents.

It is the second time Toohey has faced allegations of sexual abuse. In 1993, the priest was accused of abusing a former student at John Carroll School in Bel Air.

A lawsuit brought by that former student against Toohey was dismissed because state law requires that civil suits be filed within three years of an alleged incident.

In the new allegation, the former student told police that he first met Toohey at his mother's 25th high school reunion, and that his mother asked Toohey to help him gain admission to Calvert Hall, which he did, according to the charging documents.

During the accuser's sophomore year, when he was 15, he began having counseling sessions with Toohey because he was having trouble with his parents' divorce and also was questioning his sexuality, the man told police.

After the counseling sessions, he would spend the night at Toohey's home, where the alleged abuse occurred, according to the charging documents.

Toohey, 59, refused to be interviewed by police during the investigation. He could not be reached yesterday and his attorney, Andrew Graham, declined to comment on the charges.

The allegations against Toohey first surfaced in January.

The accuser contacted the Baltimore Archdiocese, which made the allegations public and reported them to the Baltimore County state's attorney's office and to the county police department.

Yesterday, the archdiocese issued a statement that read, in part, "The Archdiocese Of Baltimore has cooperated fully with the Baltimore County law enforcement officials on this matter and will continue to do so."

Bill Toohey, a spokesman for the Police Department and no relation to the accused, said the department refrained from publicizing the charges last month.

"We want to protect the dignity and privacy of the victim," he said. "We only put out this kind of information when we're looking for other victims or if there is a threat to public safety."

After the earlier allegation of abuse surfaced in 1993, the archdiocese removed Jerome Toohey from the ministry.

He denied the allegations of the former John Carroll student and was supported by dozens of friends and parishioners before the lawsuit was dismissed. Toohey was on the board of directors for the John Carroll School during the 1980s and '90s, according to the archdiocese.

Another former Calvert Hall priest has been the subject of sexual abuse allegations.

Laurence Brett was included in a list released by the archdiocese in 2002 of priests accused of misconduct. He has been accused by numerous individuals of abuse during the late 1960s and mid-1970s.

Brett has eluded authorities for years, last seen on St. Maarten Island by a Hartford Courant reporter who in 2002 documented allegations against Brett.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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