According to authorities, a Roman Catholic priest pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of violating federal child sexual exploitation laws.
Bartley Sorensen, 63 years of age, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Alan N. Bloch to receiving and possessing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Sorensen, a priest at St. John Fisher Church, received and possessed many images of minors being sexually abused between June 2011 and December 9, 2011.
“This case is particularly disturbing because it involves a priest, a man in a position of great trust, viewing horrific and degrading images of children,” U.S. Attorney Hickton said. “Consumers of these violent sexual images fuel the production of more images, and the demand for increasingly extreme content. This is not a ‘victimless’ crime.”
Judge Bloch scheduled sentencing for September 3, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of at least five years and up to 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Judge Bloch ordered the defendant be detained pending sentencing.