St. Louis priest pleads guilty in child porn case - KMOV.com

St. Louis priest pleads guilty in child porn case

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James Patrick Grady By Afton Spriggs James Patrick Grady By Afton Spriggs

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A Roman Catholic priest from St. Louis is expected to face nearly seven years in prison after admitting that he possessed child pornography.

The Rev. James Patrick Grady, 58, was among three men arrested in a sting operation by the FBI in July. He pleaded guilty Wednesday after reaching an agreement with federal prosecutors.

Formal sentencing will be June 25, but the agreement calls for an 80-month sentence.

Grady politely answered questions from U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton during the hearing, but he and his attorney, J. Martin Hadican, declined comment afterward. A representative of the Archdiocese of St. Louis also declined comment but confirmed that Grady remains suspended without pay.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard Marcus called the plea agreement a "fair settlement."

"It serves the needs of justice and community protection," Marcus said.

Marcus told the judge that last summer, Grady responded to ads on Craigslist offering young females of an unspecified age for sex. In fact, the ads were part of an FBI sting operation aimed at men seeking to have sex with young girls.

Grady responded by e-mail seeking more information and was told a 16-year-old girl was available for sex. The U.S. attorney's office said Grady was sent a digitally altered photo of a girl and responded by inquiring about the cost. He was given a price for a half-hour and for one hour.

Grady indicated he wanted a half-hour and set up a meeting.

He showed up at a house to meet the girl, and was arrested by the FBI and police from Maryland Heights and St. Louis County. After his arrest, Grady admitted he intended to have sex with the girl, the U.S. attorney's office said.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dropped charges of attempting to obtain a minor for a commercial sex act and using interstate commerce to attempt to entice or coerce someone under 18 to engage in prostitution or sexual activity. He had been scheduled to go to trial April 12.

Marcus said investigators found more than 100 images of child pornography involving girls ages 7-17 on the hard drive of Grady's parish-purchased laptop computer.

Grady was pastor of St. Raphael The Archangel in St. Louis. Archbishop Robert Carlson spoke to parishioners at the church during a Mass days after Grady's arrest, expressing his concerns and encouraging anyone with information about any additional wrongdoing to come forward.

No other charges were filed. Grady had no previous convictions.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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