Long Island Priest Arrested and Charged with Possession of Child Pornography
Prosecution is the Product of “Project Safe Childhood” Initiative
A federal complaint was unsealed this morning charging Reverend THOMAS G. SALOY, an Administrator of the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church in Roosevelt, New York, with possession of child pornography.1 SALOY was arrested this morning, and his initial appearance is scheduled for 2:30 this afternoon before United States Chief Magistrate Judge Michael L. Orenstein, at the U.S. Courthouse, 100 Federal Plaza, Central Islip, New York.
The charge was announced by Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, and Richard Dormer, Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department.
The complaint alleges that in September 2005, FBI agents executed a search warrant in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area in connection with an investigation into child pornography trading via America Online (“AOL”). Subsequent forensic examination of seized computer equipment revealed numerous child pornography images, as well as e-mail messages with other AOL screen names relating to the exchange of child pornography. One of those e-mail messages had been sent to an AOL screen name used by SALOY and contained three still image files, which appeared to depict sexually explicit images of male children. Thereafter, detectives from the Suffolk County Computer Crimes Unit, working with the FBI as part of a Project Safe Childhood Task Force, began an investigation of SALOY. In September 2006, an undercover detective, posing as a 16-year-old boy, was contacted by SALOY in an AOL chat room. Following a sexually related conversation, SALOY requested that the detective send him a child pornography image. In October 2006, SALOY again contacted the detective in an AOL chat room and repeated his request.
On November 9, 2006, a search warrant was executed at the rectory residence of SALOY, located adjacent to the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church, in Roosevelt, New York. At that time, SALOY admitted to law enforcement agents that he visited AOL chat rooms and requested and received sexually explicit images of teenagers 15 to 16 years old, and that he occasionally received images of very young children, which he said he deleted. He further stated that he went on-line posing as a 15-year-old to engage other 15-year-olds in sexual conversations. A subsequent forensic search of computer equipment belonging to SALOY revealed images and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
“Child pornography continues to victimize children long after the images are created,” stated United States Attorney Mauskopf. “Consumers of child pornography should be on notice that the anonymity of the Internet will not shield them from law enforcement.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Mershon stated, “Possession of child pornography is criminal because it is the demand side in a supply-and-demand market. The supply side is not just re-circulated dirty pictures. It is the creation and provision of new images all the time to feed the demand, and therefore the exploitation and victimization of an increasing number of children. We are committed to protecting children from anyone who is complicit in this victimization.”
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Dormer stated, “Anyone who possesses child pornography contributes to the sexual victimization of children. Today, after an extensive investigation, a person in a position of trust in the community, a priest, is being charged with this crime. Parents must be ever vigilant to protect their children from sexual predators who are cunning, constantly searching for victims, and are not readily identifiable.”
In February 2006, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from on-line exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better investigate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit “http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.”
If convicted of the charge, SALOY faces a maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment, a life term of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Allen L. Bode.
Name: THOMAS G. SALOY
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