2010-11-12 / Front Page

St. John’s Exec Charged With Sexual Abuse

By Nicholas Briano

St. John’s Residence for Boys’ longtime executive director, Brother Tom Trager, has been arraigned on charges that he sexually abused a 16-year-old resident on several occasions since late last summer, according to court documents.

 

Brother Tom Trager has been charged with sexual abuse of a former resident. Brother Tom Trager has been charged with sexual abuse of a former resident. Trager, 72, executive director of the Rockaway Park home for more than 30 years, has been charged with two counts of third degree sexual abuse, five counts of third degree criminal sexual act and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He had allegedly abused the teen since August 2009 in locations that included Trager’s apartment and car, court papers allege.

The St. John’s Residence for Boys, located at 144 Beach 111 Street, is a live-in facility and school for troubled children and teens that have been categorized as a “person in need of support” by the courts.

In 2007 Trager celebrated 50 years as a Marianist brother and is a considered a prominent and influential figure by many in the Rockaway community.

Trager was arraigned last Thursday at Queens Criminal Court after being escorted out of the home. He pled not guilty and bail was set at $15,000. He is due back in court on December 6.

St. John’s Residence for Boys and Trager’s attorney had no comment.

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Brother Tom has been a

Brother Tom has been a personal friend of mine for over 5 years. He has always been an outstanding person, giving, charitable and brilliant. He has never exhibited any behavior that would suggest he was anything other than a truly humble and deeply religious man. He has driven children to both Montefiore and Schnieder's children's hospitals for life saving heart surgeries at 4:30 in the morning. He has made numerous trips to local food pantries in a single day when we were having our annual food drives. He has mentored literally thousands of troubled youth over the years in his position at St. Johns, many of whom credit him with turning their lives around. Jim McAnn, founder of 1800-Flowers publicly credits Brother Tom as one of the most influential mentors in his life. In over 50 years of service to the community, there has never been even a hint of any improper behavior toward the thousands of boys who have passed through the home. Had anything been going on, something surely would have surely surfaced by now. I have met many of the boys at St. Johns boys home. Brother Tom has brought them around to see the charitable works that we do in our Rotary club. Over the years, not ONE has ever had anything negative to say about him. As a matter of fact, until today, I have never heard ANYONE have a negative word to say about him, ever. In this country we are supposed to presume innocence until proven guilty. I am sure that when all the facts come out on this case, Brother Tom will be fully exonerated. Unfortunately, in the court of public opinion, the mere accusation of such a heinous crime is enough to destroy a man's repuation, even if he is eventually found not guilty. I want to go on record publicly saying that the man I know Brother Tom Trager to be is incapable of such an act. I stand firmly on the record in support of him and his innocence in this matter.


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