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Air Force Chaplain Pleads Guilty To Assaults on Boys

January 29, 1986

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) _ A Lackland Air Force Base chaplain was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of attacking two boys, one of whom was sexually assaulted.

Capt. Thomas L. McClurg, 33, also was ordered to forfeit $2,100 a month in pay and will be dismissed from the Air Force after his sentence is completed.

He pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually assaulting, beating and threatening to kill one child and to assaulting and threatening another.

A 10-member panel of senior officers returned a 12-year sentence during a court-martial hearing Tuesday night. However, the sentence will be reduced because of a pretrial agreement.

McClurg, a United Church of Christ chaplain, expressed remorse for his actions.

He admitted to repeatedly sodomizing a 5-year-old boy in 1983 and 1984 while he was stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

He also admitted hitting the boy, choking him and threatening to kill the child if he told anyone. McClurg told Lt. Col. William Karr, a military judge, that he threatened the boy ″to keep him quiet and protect myself.″

He also pleaded guilty to striking and threatening to harm a 10-year-old boy in separate incidents between January and April 1985, when he was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. The 10-year-old submitted a written statement indicating he did not report the incidents until last April because he feared for his life.

″He said he would kill me if I told anyone,″ the boy said in the testimony read to the panel. ″I’ll really be glad when all of this is over and I don’t have to talk about it any more.″

On the stand, McClurg said, ″I wish I could tell you why I did these things. I can’t. No words can express the sorrow I felt.″

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