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Tag: Child Pornography

Black Collar Crime: PCA Worship Leader Chad Robison Sentenced to Eleven Years in Prison

chad robison

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In 2017, Chad Robison, worship leader for Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church in Lecanto, Florida, was arrested and charged with “three counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition, specifically intentionally masturbates live over a computer online services knowing that the transmission is viewed by victim less than 16 years of age; 1 count of knowingly promoting sexual performance by a child; and 3 counts of Video Voyeurism for own use.”

Fox-17 reported at the time:

Florida deputies arrested a former worship director early Thursday morning after finding thousands of sexual pictures and videos of young girls and filming them in his bathroom without their knowledge.

According to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, 36-year-old Chad Robison was arrested on several sex charges including video voyeurism and lewd and lascivious exhibition.

Back in May, a coworker alerted detectives about inappropriate videos on Robison’s laptop. Shortly after, he was fired as worship director at Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church.

Investigators found more than 3,000 videos and 350,000 pictures on his laptop with hundreds featuring young girls performing virtual sex acts with Robison.

Deputies said Robison also filmed young girls using the bathroom in his home without their knowledge. The videos range anywhere from several years old to some made just a few months ago.

“We believe there could be multiple victims. Some may be local here in Citrus County, and others across the states and abroad,” Capt. Brian Spiddle said. “It’s going to be a very difficult and long process to find those who have been victimized by this man.”

Several victims are out-of-state including some as far away as Canada and New York.

“I commend the detectives that have been working on this case,” Citrus County Sheriff Prendergast said. “We’ve just scratched the surface and already we know there are several victims out there. I’m so proud of this unit and what they’ve done to bring charges against this very sick man.”

Robison was charged with three counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition, specifically intentionally masturbates live over a computer online services knowing that the transmission is viewed by victim less than 16 years of age; 1 count of knowingly promoting sexual performance by a child; and 3 counts of Video Voyeurism for own use.

His bond was set at $26,000.

Seven Rivers Presbyterian is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America — a Fundamentalist Christian sect.

Robison later pleaded no contest in July to 48 felony counts ranging from promoting sexual performances by a child and possessing child pornography to transmitting harmful materials and video voyeurism.

In August 2018, Robison was sentenced to eleven years in prison for his crimes.

The Citrus County Chronicle reported at the time:

Chad Robison lived two lives.

In the other, the 37-year-old Hernando man spent years stockpiling illicit images and recordings of teenage girls he seduced online, and of unsuspecting women he videotaped at their most vulnerable times.

The latter of Robison’s lives, which he kept secret from his family and congregation at Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church, earned him a prison sentence Monday.

After hearing a couple hours of testimony from either Robison’s supporters or prosecutors at Robison’s Monday morning sentencing, Circuit Court Judge Richard “Ric” Howard ordered Robison to serve 11 years in prison, followed by 11 years of probation.

Robison wept beside his attorneys as Howard delivered his punishment, which also carries a lifetime sex-offender designation.

Robison’s family, churchgoers and other supporters, who took up half of Howard’s courtroom, surrounded and comforted Robison’s wife, Alexandra, who cried as bailiffs escorted her husband away.  

Robison’s sentence came after he pleaded no contest in July to 48 felony counts ranging from promoting sexual performances by a child and possessing child pornography to transmitting harmful materials and video voyeurism.

Prosecutors with the State Attorney’s Office claim Robison’s crimes date back as far back as 2012.

Howard, who had looked over roughly 220 screen captures and other evidence authorities seized from Robison’s laptop computer, told Robison he was not just appalled by what he saw but also by how Robison was reacting when he interacted with his victims online. 

“It’s enough to make some of these people run for the streets,” Howard said. “The enthusiasm of your sexual deviance, your sexual interests is something that cannot be overlooked.”

….

Before he was sentenced, Robison extended an emotional apology to his victims, his community and his church.

“I understand I have caused this community great pain; I have brought pain, I have brought fear, I have brought anger,” Robison said at his sentencing. “I recognize it, I take full responsibility and if anyone ever wants to talk to me, I will lay at their feet and give them my full repentance.”

Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church, where Robison produced Christian music as a worship director since 2011, would not comment on the sentencing.

Robison’s defense team, made up of Charles Vaughn and Gilbert Schaffnit, said Robison’s sex addiction diagnosis — brought on by years of childhood abuse — was to blame for his double life, and warranted rehabilitation, not incarceration.

“He’s not a risk to re-offend,” Vaughn told Howard.

Assistant State Attorney Blake Shore and Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast recommended Howard hand Robison the maximum 25 years.

“What we’re here today for is punishment … we’re not here because of a sex addiction, we’re here because of what he’s done to the little girls and women,” Shore said.

“He took advantage of innocent children and left invisible scars that they will have to live with for the rest of their lives,” Prendergast added.

Detective Chris Cornell, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office’s lead investigator on Robison’s case, testified to sorting through Robison’s cache of unlawful materials, which were first discovered in May 2017 when Robison’s co-workers tried to play a prank on him.

Cornell said Robison selected his victims by visiting several video chat websites and searching for girls between the ages of 10 and 15, who he would then ask to undress for him or perform other sexual acts with him online.

“He’s a textbook online predator … he’s the one we warn our children about,” Cornell said, adding Robison would lie about his age and use photos of teenage boys as his own profile picture to mask his identity.

Cornell said investigators were able to locate a few of Robison’s victims, one of whom provided a written statement about her online exchanges with a persistent Robison during the summer of 2016, when she was 14 years old.

“I told him I was too young for him and he was begging me not to skip him,” the girl said in a letter read aloud by Assistant State Attorney Erin Leathers.

….

Robison also tried to take inappropriate photographs of girls and women in public, Cornell said, adding Robison was able to videotape women as they used his bathroom.

One woman, who was a member of the church, said Robison used hidden cameras to record her as she changed into different outfits to model in for Robison and his wife.

Alexandra Robison testified she didn’t know what Robison was doing to their models or online.

“The moment he told me everything, I didn’t believe it because it wasn’t him,” she said. “A few of those people were my friends and I was very upset.”

Alexandra Robison said she chose to remain with her husband because of the humility he showed when his addiction crippled him, and the dedication toward his remorse and rehabilitation.

“Chad has hit rock bottom and further … and he’s hit every stride,” she told Howard. “It wouldn’t do me any service or my child any service … for him to go to jail. … I don’t want to see my child grow up without a father.”

Robison’s lawyer says he is not a risk to re-offend. Really? I mean, really? sigh

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: ELCA Pastor Steven Tibbetts Sentenced to Seven Years In Prison for Distributing Child Pornography

steven tibbetts

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In 2019, Steven Tibbetts, pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church in Godfrey, Illinois, was accused of distributing child pornography.

KMOV-4 reported at the time:

Steven P. Tibbetts, 61, served as the head pastor at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Godfrey.

….

Prosecutors say the investigation of Tibbetts began in August 2019 when the blogging and social network site, Tumblr, provided a cyber tip line report about one of its user accounts to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The account was searched by law enforcement and allegedly found to contain images and videos of nude minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

According to the complaint, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also received a tip from Twitter in February 2020 that one of its users had uploaded two images of suspected child pornography.

Investigators were allegedly able to trace the Tumblr and Twitter accounts back to Tibbetts’ home, where a federal search warrant was executed on June 18. A search of Tibbetts’ computer allegedly revealed the presence of additional child pornography images and videos. Agents then arrested Tibbetts at his home.

Last week, Tibbetts was convicted on child pornography charges and sentenced to eighty-seven months in prison.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports:

Stephen P. Tibbetts was ordered to serve seven years and three months in a federal prison and pay $10,000 in restitution to victims who were depicted in some of the videos and photographs. Court documents and evidence obtained by federal agents, and Macoupin County sheriff’s deputies, showed Tibbetts began viewing and distributing child pornography starting in the 1990s and continued until his arrest in June 2020, a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice said.

While Tibbetts was on pre-trial release for the offenses he was charged for, an officer located additional devices in his home, which were found to contain child pornography. In all, Tibbetts possessed 2,430 images and 408 videos containing child pornography, according to the court.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

(Updated) Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest W. Thomas Faucher Back in Court on Child Porn Charges

w thomas faucher

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Last month, I posted a story about Catholic Priest W. Thomas Faucher and his arrest on child pornography charges. Faucher is back in court today, thanks to newly found porn on his computer (he had tried to delete it). The judge raised Faucher’s bond to $1 million, saying that the community was not safe as long as Faucher roamed free.

KTVB-7 reports:

A retired Boise priest was taken back into custody Tuesday morning after a judge quadrupled his bond, declaring that the brutally violent child pornography newly discovered on the suspect’s computer had convinced him the community was not safe as long as Father W. Thomas Faucher remained free.

Prosecutors leveled nine new charges against Faucher during the hearing – seven new counts of possession of child pornography, one new count of distribution of child pornography and one new count of LSD possession – bringing his total charges to more than 20.

Prosecutor Kassandra Slaven said the additional charges correspond to additional graphic files, images and videos found on the 72-year-old’s computer – some of which Faucher had attempted to delete, she said.

Those images and videos are “so concerning that the state feels that a $250,000 bond just simply does reflect the danger and risk the defendant poses to the community,” Slaven told the judge.

….

Forensic investigators have so far recovered more than 2,000 child pornography files from Faucher’s devices, the prosecutor said, including pictures and videos depicting the “extremely brutal rape and torture of children.”

“Quite frankly, your Honor, the content is some of the worst that the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has seen,” Slaven said. “This involves very young children – many, many infant children.”

Online, Faucher fed his “sadistic and deviant” desires by chatting with people with similar interests, Slaven said, discussing fantasies that were alarming in their specificity: even outlining the gender, age and other details about children he would like to abuse.

“There are countless, countless, countless graphic chat conversations on his computer where he is very specific about how his sexual interests are evolving; he discusses in great detail the desires he has to sexually abuse and even kill children,” Slaven said.

….

Faucher’s attorney, Mark Manweiler, vigorously opposed the motion to increase bond.

Manweiler argued that the new charges were “quantitative” – more pornographic files discovered – but not a significant change in alleged conduct, meaning that Faucher is not any more likely to skip court.

“He’s 72 years old: Conviction of even a small number of these charges could likely result in a functional life sentence,” he said. “Whether he is charged with 500 counts or he’s charged with five, it makes no qualitative difference to his motivation or ability to appear at all his court appearances.”

The defense attorney also argued that Faucher has no prior criminal history, has complied with all GPS monitoring and other court conditions, and is not charged with any actual physical sexual contact with any children.

Although two people who say they were molested by the priest decades ago came forward after his arrest, Faucher has not been charged in those cases.

….

Update:

Channel 7 reported in October 2020:

A former priest who served at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Boise for decades before being arrested in a violent child pornography case that shook his parishioners and detectives alike is dead.

Father W. Thomas Faucher was 75. He was less than two years into a 25-year fixed prison sentence at the Idaho State Correctional Institution.

….

Faucher had already retired from his position as priest when police raided his diocese-owned home in northwest Boise in February of 2018, seizing thousands of violent and sexual images and videos, some of which showed victims as young as infants and toddlers being raped and tortured.

Prosecutors said later that the evidence collected in the case was among the most disturbing that members of the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children task force had ever encountered.

Detectives also recovered extensive online chat logs in which Faucher wrote about his desire to rape and murder a child, mused about sexually assaulting an altar boy at his church, and discussed traveling to South America to abduct and abuse a small boy before killing that child.

Faucher later told a judge he did not remember writing those messages, or sending an email containing photos of two children being sexually assaulted by adult men. He pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of child pornography, two counts of possession of child pornography and possession of LSD in September 2018, saying he wanted to “take responsibility” for what he had done.

Then-mayor Dave Bieter was among those to ask the judge for leniency at Faucher’s sentencing, writing in a letter that the priest had provided counsel and solace after the death of Bieter’s parents. The mayor later told KTVB that although he was “deeply disturbed and angry” about what Faucher had done, showing compassion and forgiveness are central tenets of his faith.

Although his defense attorney asked for probation, the sentence of 25 years without parole handed down by the judge all but guaranteed the retired priest would die behind bars.

Faucher was defrocked – officially removed from the position as clergy by the Vatican – after his conviction, and Idaho Court of Appeals upheld his 25-year sentence earlier this year.

Black Collar Crime: Josh Duggar Charged with Child Porn Possession

josh duggar

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Josh Duggar, of “19 Kids and Counting” fame, stands accused of receiving and possessing child pornography.

CNN reports:

Former reality TV star Joshua Duggar has been arrested on federal charges related to the possession of child pornography, according to the US Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Arkansas.

Duggar allegedly downloaded material that depicted the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, the US attorney’s office said in a statement. Duggar allegedly possessed the material in May 2019.

Duggar, the oldest son of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, whose family was the subject of the TLC show “19 Kids and Counting,” faces two charges, the indictment shows — one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. He faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 if convicted, the statement said.

Duggar was arrested in Arkansas Thursday, according to the statement. He appeared in federal court Friday via video conference and pleaded not guilty to both charges.

In 2015, Duggar was accused of sexually molesting five girls, including some of his sisters. No charges were filed against Duggar.

The Daily Mail reports:

The arrest marks Duggar’s latest brush with the law after his father, Jim Bob, reported him to police in 2006 for allegedly molesting five young girls over multiple occasions back when he was 14 and 15. It took several years and a tip-off to local police that finally forced Jim Bob to report his son’s behavior to authorities.

Josh’s behavior was first discovered in March of 2002, when one of his youngest sisters went to Jim Bob ‘very upset and crying’. Josh admitted to touching her breasts and genitals while she was sleeping on multiple occasions.

In the report, Jim Bob said Josh was ‘disciplined,’ though didn’t reveal what the discipline entailed. 

But there were more incidents to follow after that. And it was revealed that Jim Bob decided to finally go to authorities after an anonymous tip was made to the Arkansas State Police Child Abuse Hotline about Josh’s behavior.

Finally speaking to police on Dec. 12, 2006, Jim Bob said when he learned about what his son was doing, he ‘met with the elders of his church and told them what was going on.’ 

They sent Josh to a Christian program that consisted of hard physical work and counseling from March 17, 2003 to July 17, 2003. 

It later emerged that the institute’s founder, Bill Gothard, was accused of sexually harassing or assaulting 34 women in 2014 and resigned shortly afterward.  

It wasn’t until May 2015, when the police report leaked in the media, that details of the accusations went public. The reality show was cancelled by TLC two months later. 

Duggar’s sisters, Jessa and Jill Duggar, have since claimed they were two of their brother’s alleged victims. 

Duggar later found himself caught up in the Ashley Madison scandal. The Daily Mail reports:

Months later, Duggar was rocked by another scandal when it was revealed that he had an account on Ashley Madison – the cheating website for married men.

He released yet another statement apologizing for cheating on his wife, saying: ‘I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the Internet and this has become a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.’

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Sean Higgins Charged With Sex Crimes

pastor sean higgins

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Sean Higgins, a youth pastor at Harbor Baptist Church — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation — and a teacher at Harbor Baptist Academy, both in Hainesport, New Jersey, stands accused of “six counts of first-degree manufacturing child sexual abuse material, one count of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, five counts of second-degree distribution of child sexual abuse material, one count of second-degree sexual assault, six counts of third-degree possession of child sexual abuse material, six counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and one count each of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact, fourth-degree obstruction and fourth-degree contempt.”

In November 2020, the Burlington County Times reported:

A youth pastor accused of blackmailing young boys into sending him sexually explicit videos will remain behind bars.

Sean Higgins, the youth pastor and music leader at Harbor Baptist Church and teacher at Harbor Baptist Academy in Hainesport, was ordered to remain in Burlington County Jail pending trial.

….

The 30-year-old Palmyra man faces 28 charges, including aggravated sexual assault and manufacturing child sexual abuse material.

He is accused of posing as a teenage girl under the alias “Julie Miller” on Snapchat and Instagram to convince young boys to send him nude photos, and then using those photos to blackmail the boys into recording sexually explicit videos.

Higgins is no longer employed by the church.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Bruce Gerencser