Retired Missouri priest sentenced for possessing child porn

January 10, 2023 GMT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A retired Catholic priest in St. Louis who used thousands of images of child pornography to make PowerPoint presentations for several years was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison.

James T. Beighlie, 72, pleaded guilty in October to two counts of possession of child pornography. He was also ordered to pay $4,750 to one of this victims, and another $22,000 for a fund that will go toward other child victims of crimes.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen Lang said Beighlie had thousands of images and videos that he used for the PowerPoint presentations, which he revised several times. He had been using child pornography since at least 2008, she said. The prosecutor’s office has not indicated that Beighlie showed the presentations to anyone.

“All I can say is that I am ashamed and deeply remorseful,” Beighlie told the judge.

A church investigation began in May 2021, after co-workers at the Congregation of the Mission in St. Louis found compromising images of Beighlie on a church printer. An attorney for the church contacted the FBI after a private IT support company found what appeared to be videos of minors engaging in sex acts.

Beighlie was a Vincentian priest who most recently was an associate pastor at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in St. Louis.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Beighlie’s attorney argued for supervised release, saying his client had serious health issues and was already staying at the Vianney Renewal Center, a Roman Catholic facility in Missouri that treats sexually abusive priests, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

A Congregation of the Mission spokesperson said in October there are no other known allegations of sexual abuse of a minor involving Beighlie.

Beighlie previously was on the faculty at St. Thomas Aquinas/Mercy High School in St. Louis, at Vincent Gray Academy in East St. Louis and an associate pastor at Our Lady Queen of Peace parish in House Springs, according to the Congregation of the Mission.