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Priest in 1980s pedophilia scandal dies

March 28, 2013 at 1:29 PM   |   Comments

PORTLAND, Ore., March 28 (UPI) -- A former Roman Catholic priest convicted in a child-molestation scandal in Oregon died at the age of 87, the Portland archdiocese said this week.

Thomas Laughlin died March 1 in Omaha, Neb., where he had relocated to be near family after being defrocked and spending a year in jail in the 1980s, The (Portland) Oregonian said.

"I suppose one could say that this at least partially closes a sad chapter in the history of our Archdiocese," Monsignor Dennis O'Donovan said in the statement . "Yet the hurt and pain of those who had been molested -- well, that perhaps continues. Let us certainly continue to pray for them, and may we pray that God's mercy touches Tom also."

Laughlin had been a popular and high-profile priest in the Portland area until he was convicted in 1983 of molesting two boys. The Oregonian said he admitted to abusing dozens of children in incidents dating back to the 1960s.

Laughlin did not receive any prison time after his conviction, but he was ordered to stay away from kids and shipped to a rehabilitation facility for wayward priests in New Mexico. He was locked up for a year in the Multnomah County jail after meeting a former victim at the Grand Canyon and having sexual relations with him, the newspaper said.

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