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Another Porn Priest Caught in Scandal

Between altar boys and porn, there’s not going to be anyone left to run the churches. In case you missed it, another man of the cloth fell to the wayside this week: www.adultfyi.com/read.php?ID=44877

GREENWICH — from www.ctpost.com – The former pastor of an Old Greenwich spiritualist church — who dubbed himself UnclePaul48 as he searched for and traded child pornography online — pleaded guilty Wednesday to all five child counts of child pornography.

The Rev. Simeon Stefanidakis, 60, the former pastor of Albertson Memorial Church of Spiritualism at 293 Sound Beach Ave., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston. He will be sentenced Feb. 9 and could face eight years in prison. He was indicted on June 15 on four counts of transportation of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

The interim president of the church’s board of directors, Eileen White, expressed sorrow about the situation.

“We’re saddened. He did a lot of very good things for our church and we are saddened to hear this news. He did do a lot. He helped a lot of people.”

The prosecution will be seeking an 8-year, 1-month prison sentence, said Christina Sterling a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston.

“We are going to ask for 97 months. The judge can change that, even though it is a plea agreement, it is really up to the judge.”

Stefanidakis’ lawyer, Jeanne Kempthorne, declined to comment.

According to material presented in court, Stefanidakis on Oct. 9, 2008, joined a chat room and unknowingly communicated with an undercover detective who was conducting surveillance on the chat room.

The agency the New York State based detective worked for was not mentioned in the facts.

“The defendant discussed his sexual interest in children with the undercover detective, and provided his username to contact him on a separate Internet peer-to-peer file sharing technology,” said the statement.

He was observed sharing files and the detective downloaded four files offered by Stefanidakis that depicted minor children engaged in sexual activity.

On March 12, 2009, agents of the FBI executed a search warrant at the First Spiritual Temple at 16 Monmouth Street in Brookline, Mass., where Stefanidakis was pastor and seized computers and computer media.

“Stefanidakis stated that the child pornography was on an external USB hard drive that was packed in his car, and indicated that only he, and no one else, was responsible for the trading of child pornography at (the temple). Stefanidakis disclosed that he began trading child pornography several years ago, utilizing multiple Internet technologies and using external hard drives that were connected to either his desktop or laptop. He stated that his collection of child pornography was organized into folders such as “images” or “videos,” or by type or source website,” said the statement of facts.

Stefanidakis had “thousands of images and videos of prepubescent children engaged in sexual explicit conduct were found on the defendant’s various computers and media.”

White was shocked to discover from the statement of facts that Stefanidakis arrived in Old Greenwich to take over leadership of the church the day after the FBI seized his porn collection.

“My God, he knew coming here, wow,” said White who frequently paused during an interview with Greenwich Time as she mulled over that fact. “Wow. We didn’t know this of course and I am shocked.”

He was arrested and charged in June of this year. The allegations cover a period when he served as a pastor in Brookline, Mass. None of the activities following his March 2009 arrival to take over stewardship of the Albertson Memorial.

Stefanidakis, who was on paid suspension from his duties at the church, resigned from the church. The resignation letter arrived Monday at the church and the church’s board of directors met Monday evening to accept it.

Stefanidakis remains free on $50,000 bond. Among the conditions was that he could not leave Massachusetts.

The maximum penalty is up to 20 years imprisonment on each count of transportation of child pornography, and up to 10 years imprisonment on the possession of child pornography.

The church has used a rotating group of ministers to lead its Sunday services since Stefanidakis’ arrest five months ago.

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