He also pleaded guilty to pretending to be a doctor.
Published Nov. 14, 2010|Updated Nov. 15, 2010

A 71-year-old man pleaded guilty Friday to falsely claiming to be a doctor and molesting a child. Richard O'Toole will spend 21 months in prison and 10 years on probation.

O'Toole pleaded guilty to lewd and lascivious battery, unlawful sex with a minor and practicing medicine without a license.

O'Toole did not speak in court. But Francine Arrington, whose son was approached by O'Toole at First Unity Church in St. Petersburg, said the ordeal was "a horrible thing for these young men. I'm just glad justice has been served."

She said she would have liked a longer prison term, but "we'll take what we can get. At least he's admitted to what he's done."

The sentence was the result of a plea agreement.

At First Unity, O'Toole convinced some members he was a doctor specializing in adolescent psychology. He counseled several church members, including children. But during "counseling" with youths, the subject of masturbation and sex often came up. One youth reported that when he was 17, O'Toole asked him to pull out his "tiger."

O'Toole also was accused of performing oral sex on a young man he's known for several years.

The young man, who is now 20, said he had met O'Toole at age 12, when he offered to mow his lawn. Within a year, O'Toole was talking about sex, touching him and performing oral sex, police said.

Police said it continued once or twice a week for years - and ended only a few weeks before the young man came forward earlier this year.