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NEW HAVEN, CT: Episcopal Church Choir Director Hired a Pedophile,Prosecutors Say

NEW HAVEN, CT: Episcopal Church Choir Director Hired a Pedophile, Prosecutors Say

February 20, 2008

NEW HAVEN (AP) - A former music director at a prominent Greenwich church who was convicted of possessing child pornography hired a pedophile and failed to tell the authorities when that man sexually assaulted a choirboy, prosecutors disclosed on Tuesday.

The music director, Robert F. Tate, faces 9 to 11 years in prison under federal guidelines when he is sentenced on Thursday, prosecutors said in court papers.

Mr. Tate, 65, was choir director for 34 years at Christ Church, an Episcopal church, and he created a music program that gained an international reputation. Former President George H. W. Bush attended the church while growing up, and funeral services for his parents were held there.

Prosecutors said Mr. Tate permitted two sexual predators to remain in the church's choir at various times. They also said that he rehired an assistant organist who had been dismissed for sexually assaulting a choirboy and that he failed to tell the authorities when the organist assaulted another choirboy.

"We now know that the former assistant organist was a serial child predator who sexually abused children wherever he went," prosecutors wrote.

"Mr. Tate has great shame about much of his conduct over the years," said his lawyer, Francis O'Reilly. "The reference by the United States attorney causes him great shame, knowing a child was harmed by his conduct."

Mr. Tate was immediately terminated when the pornography was discovered on his laptop computer, said Eugene J. Riccio, the church's lawyer.

Mr. Tate's case also led to the conviction of a former lawyer for the church for destroying Mr. Tate's laptop computer containing child pornography. The lawyer, Philip D. Russell, was sentenced to six months of home confinement.

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