In certain cases, an individual who is charged with one or more federal crimes is best advised to accept a plea deal rather than face trial. These are difficult calls to make, as many people feel strongly that they can present a solid defense in a court of law. That said, defense attorneys are highly skilled at looking at all of the evidence held by the prosecution and making a determination about the risk of conviction. Such was the case for a former Pennsylvania priest who recently entered a guilty plea in connection with child pornography charges.
The 56-year-old man worked as a priest in as many as eight different parishes since he was ordained in 1985. Most recently, he was placed at S.S. Simon and Jude Parish, located in Westtown. Investigators believe that he posed as a 16-year-old girl in an effort to entice minors to send him explicit photographs. Those efforts may have resulted in contact with as many as 25 minors.
After investigators searched his home, the former priest made efforts to destroy a laptop computer. He also admitted to trading hundreds of explicit photographs online. He has admitted his guilt in all of these accusations and has expressed his remorse. He has also stated that he is ready and willing to accept the consequences of his actions.
The former Pennsylvania priest faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for the child pornography charges. Because he entered a guilty plea, he will be spared the indignity, expense and stress of a trial. As sentencing approaches, he and his legal team are hopeful that his choice to accept responsibility for his actions will lead to leniency in the sentence that he receives.
Source: philly.com, "Suspended Chester County priest pleads guilty to child pornography charges", Jeremy Roebuck, June 8, 2015