Priest Convicted on Pornography Charges Had Satanic Thoughts Jan 10, 2019 18:48:44 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on Jan 10, 2019 18:48:44 GMT -5
Priest Convicted on Pornography Charges Had Satanic Thoughts
The Rev. W. Thomas Faucher (above), a longtime priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise, Idaho, who pled guilty to five felonies, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole. Faucher, 73, was accused of amassing thousands of child pornography images and videos on his home computer – and pled guilty in September to sharing some of the images online. He apologized in the courtroom before sentencing at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise. “This is the crime that has the potential for both immediate and long-lasting consequences,” said Judge Jason Scott of the 4th Judicial Circuit. “... I think there is a legitimate risk to the community.”
“I am deeply sorry that I was and have been connected to that in any way,” Faucher told the judge in a statement that lasted approximately17 minutes. He also admitted to being deeply stricken by the victim impact statements and indicated he knew child pornography was not a victimless crime. “I was one really sick puppy. I screwed up big time ... I feel so much remorse and anger,” Faucher said. Nevertheless, he argued against jail time. “There are many people who will benefit if I am no longer in jail,” the priest added, claiming he would like to help others. “There are no people who will benefit if I am in jail or in prison.”
Faucher, known for his support for leftist talking points, was part of the Interfaith Equality Coalition of Idaho, a group supporting Muslim immigration. The organization signed a letter addressed to Idaho’s governor criticizing his support of President Trump’s temporary travel ban on Muslims immigrating from Muslim-majority countries. Ironically, in 2010, Faucher criticized Pope Benedict XVI’s handling of priestly sex abuse, insisting the pope was failing to address the “mess” and should resign.
A thinner and frail-looking Faucher was wheeled into the 5th-floor courtroom in his ail uniform just before 9:30 a.m. At least 30 people, including some members of the Diocese of Boise, plus local media were packed into the windowless chamber. Some wept while others exited the room as a local detective described in graphic detail the images and child pornography discovered in Faucher’s possession.
Diocese officials told the Statesman they will seek to have Faucher defrocked, reiterating this in a press release following sentencing: “The volumes of shocking information that the law enforcement investigation uncovered reveal the heinous nature of child pornography and the tragic impact upon its victims,” the release read. “While we cannot begin to fathom what brought Faucher to the point that he was able to enter into this evil and dark world, we are thankful for the efforts of the law enforcement community in doing what it can to protect our children from these crimes.”
Investigation took a toll on police. Garden City Detective John Brumbaugh, a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, testified he received a cybertip that involved two images linked to the St. Mary’s Catholic Church website. In the months that followed, he reviewed chats and emails showing that Faucher was “actively seeking interests with gay men, Satanic interests” and the rape and killing of minors. The detective described the contents of the images police found on Faucher’s cellphone, computer and Dropbox account: in excess of 2,500 files that were sexually exploitative or pornographic with young-looking subjects. The files were described by police as violent, disturbing and torturous, some involving crying children. In online chats with a person called “Bruno,” Faucher expressed a desire to have sex with boys, “satanic desires,” an attraction to 6-year-old boys and that “the thought of killing someone does begin to excite me,” according to the detective. In online conversations concerning shared child pornography, Brumbaugh said the priest discussed fantasies, including the sexual abuse of altar boys and babies and indicated he liked a video of a boy being beaten to death. “The volume of [images] was something I haven’t come across,” Brumbaugh continued, adding that the extreme nature of the images took a toll on those involved in the investigation. As Faucher solicited additional videos of young boys, he wrote that he felt “wonderful indifference,” Brumbaugh told the courtroom.
Other images the detective said investigators found included depictions of slavery, as well as images of Faucher urinating on a cross and canon law book. The priest also wrote that he urinated in the wine offerd at mass on at least one occasion. Faucher also talked to “Bruno” about betraying canon law, then blaming his inclinations on his age and illness. “It felt good to lie,” Faucher wrote in one of the conversations, the detective told the court. Faucher later told Brumbaugh no one else had access to his email account and the detective confirmed there was no evidence anyone had remote access to Faucher’s computer nor of a virus affecting the computer.
Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, whose office oversees the task force that investigated the crimes, said in a press release the sentencing is a reminder of how challenging this work can be: “Today’s sentencing brings to close one of the most difficult cases the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Unit has ever investigated. As those in the courtroom today are now aware, the nature of the evidence uncovered was extremely disturbing. I want to publicly say thank you to the ICAC staff for their extraordinary professionalism and dedication to their mission in the face of inherently difficult work. ”
‘It shakes the community.’ Ahead of sentencing, special prosecutor Kassandra Slaven asked for a 30-year prison sentence, including 20 years before Faucher would be eligible for parole. She also requested a no-contact with minor children order be issued.
An evaluation concluded Faucher is at the upper end of the risk to reoffend and is less amenable to treatment, Slaven said, adding that he [Faucher] was diagnosed as a pedophile. She argued his status as a Catholic priest was an aggravating factor. “It shakes the community. It shakes the members of the Catholic Church .... He portrays himself as a victim and is not at all accountable for his actions.”
Faucher’s defense attorney, Mark Manweiler, had asked for probation and sex offender treatment instead of prison time, arguing the evidence did not support the allegation that Faucher looked at all the images on the computer. He also argued that although Faucher looked at, possessed and shared child pornography, “he’s never sexually abused any child.”
Earlier, the Statesman reported two men came forward and accused Faucher of sexually abusing them when they were children several decades earlier, however, no charges have been filed. The defense countered that any accusations at this late date should be taken “with a grain of salt.” Manweiler also praised Faucher, saying “Tom isn’t a good person, he’s a wonderful person” who’s helped hundreds, if not thousands, of people. He also read from a letter of support from Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, who said Faucher had helped his family. The attorney emphasized what he said caused Faucher “to get into this world of Satanism and pornography”: that the priest of 45 years went from a position of power “to all of the sudden being nothing” and “he couldn’t handle it.” It was a combination of rejection by church officials, alcohol abuse and loneliness that caused Faucher to stray into Satanism and child porn, Manweiler claimed.
Charges against Faucher. Prosecutors claimed they found more than 2,000 photos and videos depicting child sexual abuse on Faucher’s computer and phone. They alleged he spoke in online chat rooms concerning a desire to rape and kill children, however, his attorney previously said at least one of those conversations was nothing more than “role playing” with an author in Brazil.
The cleric was charged with 21 counts of felony sexual exploitation of a child, one count of felony possession of a controlled substance (LSD) and two counts of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance (marijuana and ecstasy). He pled guilty to two counts of distribution of sexually exploitative material, two counts of possession of sexually exploitative material and one count of drug possession.
Diocese spokesman Gene Fadness told the Statesman church officials haven’t seen evidence Faucher has taken full responsibility for his actions. In pleading guilty to five of the 24 charges against him, the priest said he didn’t remember sharing child porn with others because he had alcohol-induced depression and dementia. The diocese evicted Faucher from his home while he was in the Ada County Jail and had the house exorcized before selling it.
Sources: Katy Moeller and Ruth Brown, The Idaho Statesman, December 20, 2018, and David Nussman, ChurchMilitant, February 15, 2018.