A former long-time music director at Christ Church Greenwich, Robert F. Tate, 70, has been released from the federal prison term he was serving following a 2008 child pornography conviction and has moved to a New Canaan apartment. At his sentencing hearing in 2008, Tate, admitted to a 40 year history of sexual abuse of minors overseas as well as viewing hundreds of sexually-explicit photos of children dating back to the 1960s. Tate was not charged criminally for those acts, but did acknowledge having sex with boys in Thailand, the Phillippines and Costa Rica. According to the state Sex Offender’s Registry, Tate is living at 279 Elm St., Apartment 2, following his release from federal prison last week.
Attempts to reach Tate for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful.Last week, New Canaan School Superintendent Mary Kolek wrote to parents, advising them of Tate’s expected presence in town and assuring them the school district took relevant steps to protect children.State law requires local school districts be notified when a registered sex offender moves into town.Jill LaGattuta, a New Canaan mother of three, said she was ill at ease about Tate’s living in town and the potential risk he posed to children, based on his lengthy acknowledged history of being attracted to young boys.”New Canaan is exceptionally family oriented and the kids walk into town by themselves and they play in the street,” LaGattuta said. “I think it’s horrible this man is going to be walking around the center of down right down the street from his house.”Carol Curtis, a long time parishioner of Christ Church Greenwich whose daughter Annie sang in the girl’s choir there for 9 years, said she believes Tate has paid his debt, and more, by working hard to resolve the psychological problems which drove his interest in young boys.No one should consider him a risk, she said.”He had a much harsher sentence than many people who committed a similar crime,” Curtis said.This year she submitted a letter in federal court urging U.S. District Court Judge Alfred Covello in New Haven to cut some restrictions on Tate in order to help ease his re-entry into society. While his activities regarding child pornography were worthy of punishment, Curtis said Tate was not convicted of physically assaulting any choristers during his tenure as music director.”I don’t think anyone should be upset about Bob Tate being there,” Curtis said. “He is a fine musician and a very fine person and has been through a very tough program. I’m sure he has solved whatever problems he has had.”Under terms of his release — established at his sentencing in U.S. District Judge Alan Nevas in February 2008 — Tate will be monitored by probation officials for life, be required to take part in sex offender treatment, consent to monitoring of his computer use and be barred from contact with individuals under the age of 18.In August, Covello rejected a motion to reduce or eliminate requirements that Tate remain in mental health treatment and comply with other restrictions.Tate’s motion argued Nevas’ conditions were vague and more severe than warranted given comprehensive treatment Tate had undergone and his low risk of offending again.Throughout his indictment and guilty plea, many parishioners of Christ Church remained loyal to Tate, arguing that his contributions to young choristers in Greenwich mitigated his misdeeds to some extent.As reported in the Greenwich Times by Martin B. Casidy