Recommended

Current Page: U.S. | | Coronavirus →

Former Episcopal priest sentenced to 6 years in prison for child porn possession

Former Episcopal priest sentenced to 6 years in prison for child porn possession

Reuters

A former Massachusetts Episcopal priest has been sentenced to six years of prison after being found guilty of possessing 200 videos and images of child pornography.

Gregory Lisby, a 41-year-old former clergyman with the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, was sentenced on Sept. 18 by U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Hillman.

The sentence of six years was below the suggested “low-end” sentence of 11 years, which had been requested by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Noto, reported the Telegram & Gazette.

It was also revealed that Lisby had had sexual contact with a 16-year-old boy. However, he was not charged with a crime as 16 is the age of consent in Massachusetts.

The Rev. Vicki Ix, diocesan spokesperson, said she did not know if the minor was the same boy mentioned in a diocese press release from earlier this year as having been allegedly abused by Lisby.

Free CP Newsletters

Join over 250,000 others to get the top stories curated daily, plus special offers!

Free CP Newsletters

Join over 250,000 others to get the top stories curated daily, plus special offers!

“The court has not shared with the diocese any information about the identity of the minor being discussed at Mr. Lisby’s sentencing hearing,” Ix told the Telegram & Gazette.

Lisby previously served as rector of Christ Church in Ridgewood, New Jersey, from 2010 to 2015 before being transferred to the Diocese of Western Massachusetts.

Exclusive Op-eds from the 2020 Presidential Campaigns

  • Joe Biden

    Joe Biden

    The greatest commandment has guided my politics

  • Mike Pence

    Mike Pence

    President Trump is the best choice for Americans of faith

Also a former kindergarten teacher, Lisby was arrested and charged by the FBI with possession of child pornography in September 2019.

The arrest came after authorities raided his home, which he shared with his husband, the Rev. Timothy Burger of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Worcester, and two daughters.

Western Massachusetts Bishop Douglas J. Fisher said in an official letter at the time that Lisby was suspended in 2018 due to “an inappropriate relationship with an adult that did not involve sexual contact.”

“Nothing I discovered during the disciplinary process gave me any reason to believe he was a danger to children,” wrote Fisher, adding that the diocese was pursuing an investigation into disciplinary action against Lisby and barred him from contacting any Episcopal church.

In late February, Lisby pleaded guilty to one count of child porn possession, with him facing the possibility of getting as much as 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Burger, the spouse of Lisby, was not implicated in any of the charges against Lisby and filed for divorce. The diocese reported that Burger remained in good standing.

In response to the guilty plea, Fisher told the diocese that “even after he is released from prison, Lisby will not be permitted any contact with congregations in this diocese without my express permission.”

“Please know that we take the safety of children very seriously in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, and our clergy and lay leaders participate in the safe church training programs mandated by the Episcopal Church,” wrote Fisher.

Free CP Newsletters

Join over 250,000 others to get the top stories curated daily, plus special offers!

Free CP Newsletters

Join over 250,000 others to get the top stories curated daily, plus special offers!

Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook

Sponsored

Most Popular

More In U.S.