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Current Page: Church & Ministries | Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Suspended Episcopal priest arrested, charged with child porn possession

Suspended Episcopal priest arrested, charged with child porn possession

The Reverend Gregory Lisby of Christ Church gives an invocation at a Community Meals, Inc. event in 2011. | Facebook/Community Meals, Inc. (CMI)

A Massachusetts Episcopal priest who was suspended by his diocese and was working as a kindergarten teacher was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography.

The Rev. Gregory Lisby, who taught kindergarten at Morgan School in Holyoke, was arrested last Thursday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

According to an affidavit by FBI special agent Adam Strode, an investigation found evidence that Lisby possessed approximately 180 images and 15 videos that likely depicted child pornography.

Last Wednesday, authorities secured a court warrant to search Lisby’s home, which he shared with his husband, the Reverend Timothy Burger of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Worcester, and their two daughters.

Lisby was then arrested and is being kept in custody until his next court appearance, which is scheduled for Sept. 23 before Judge David Hennessy, according to Masslive.com.

The Right Reverend Douglas J. Fisher, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, explained in an official letter last Friday that Lisby had been suspended last year for having “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 Bishop Fisher.

Fisher also wrote that in response to the arrest, he was pursuing an investigation into disciplinary action against Lisby and also prohibited him from contacting any Episcopal church.

“We take the safety of children very seriously in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts,” continued Fisher. “When trust has been violated, God’s people and God’s mission suffer.”

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

The Right Reverend Carlye J. Hughes, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark where Lisby formerly served, issued a statement last Friday explaining that they were following the case.

“At this time, there is no indication of this behavior during the Rev. Lisby’s tenure in this diocese. Still, we will monitor this investigation carefully and are ready to launch a diocesan investigation if deemed necessary,” wrote Bishop Hughes.

“We join the people of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts in praying for all children exploited by child pornography, and for the Reverends Burger, Lisby, and their family.”

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