Christopher T. Ross, a 33 former youth minister at St. Kilian Catholic Church in Farmingdale, was arrested and charged after admitting to police that he sodomized a 17 year old boy in April 2001. The victim, now 20, met Ross through the church's youth group when he was 15. He told police about the alleged sodomy earlier this year, saying that it happened while he was sleeping at Ross' home on April 27, 2001. Parents of children who attend religious education classes at St. Kilian say the church pastor wasn't telling the whole truth when he said an alleged sex abuser was barred from volunteering with its youth ministry in August 2001. Msgr. James Swiader, the pastor, said Ross was asked to stop his volunteer work with the group two years ago. However, Swiader acknowledged on he failed to mention to a reporter that Ross was still teaching second-graders preparing for first Communion there. Irate parents called Newsday and the church to say they felt misled by the church, and questioned the decision to allow Ross to continue teaching. Swiader said the church allowed Ross back in the classroom because there was never any evidence of wrongdoing there and that his work with second-graders was more structured than with the youth group. Ross remains free on $2,500 bail and has been charged with one count of third-degree sodomy. His attorney denied the allegations.

On October 29, hundreds of parents of students angrily expressed hurt and betrayal that Ross was allowed to teach even after he had been removed from his position as youth minister for acting immaturely. They also heard an apology from Swiader. I should have gone a few extra yards to make sure our children will always be safe, he said. Later he added that he didn't believe the children's safety was ever in question.

Ross pleaded guilty March 4, to sodomizing the teenage boy in 2001 while the boy was asleep.  He pleaded guilty to one count of third degree sodomy, as charged.  He faced up to 4 years in prison.  However, Acting State Supreme Court Justice Jerald Carter, has promised to sentence him to 30 days in jail.  

Ross was sentenced yesterday to 30 days in jail and agreed to give up his teacher's license.  He remained silent at his sentencing as the young man he sodomized spoke of the harm inflicted by the mentor he once trusted and had considered a role model.  You've caused me pain, anger and hopelessness, he said.  

(New York)