Former Area Priest Arrested
By Dustin Lemmon
September 21, 2006
A former Davenport-area priest who spent time in prison for possessing child pornography on a church-owned laptop has been arrested, accused of violating his parole by having contact with minors.
The Rev. Richard Poster, 41, was sentenced to a year in federal prison on a charge of possessing child pornography in January 2004.
After he was released, he was employed by the Diocese of Davenport for janitorial work but was asked to leave in October 2005.
Poster made a brief first appearance in courtWednesday in which Judge Thomas J. Shields ordered him detained until a hearing next Tuesday in which his supervised release could be revoked. An arrest warrant was filed for Poster on Tuesday.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Allegro, Poster is accused of having contact with minors at the Barnes & Noble book store in Davenport, on an area bike path and in Buffalo, Iowa, where he has been living with his parents. He also saw one child more than once, Allegro said.
Allegro didn't say if Poster had any sexual contact with minors, and Shields did not unseal court documents that he said include six to eight allegations. Shields said he would not unseal the case because Chief Judge Ronald E. Longstaff ordered it sealed, and he will be overseeing the revocation hearing next week.
Allegro said Poster admitted riding his bicycle around Buffalo Elementary School, a violation of his release, and to masturbating while watching children, Allegro said. While taking a polygraph, Poster was asked if he had contact with children while riding his bike, and he said "no," and the machine detected several deceptive responses, Allegro said.
Poster also said he masturbated in some bushes in 2005 while working for the diocese near Assumption High School, Allegro said. Dates of the alleged incidents were not read out loud in court.
Allegro said Poster also went "cruising" while on release, meaning he went looking for and had sex with another male. Allegro argued that all the allegations were evidence that Poster displays predatory tendencies.
According to Allegro, Poster said at his sentencing on the child pornography charge that he never went near children and was "merely addicted" to child pornography.
"We now know that's not true," Allegro said.
Poster's attorney, Leon Spies of Iowa City, said his client has been working for Pharmacy Services of the Quad-Cities since March and argued that he wasn't a risk to flee or harm children if released. He also argued that there was no proof some of the people Poster had contact with were minors.
The Rev. Bob Gruss, chancellor of the Diocese of Davenport, said Poster was told he had to find other work when he left last year. He said he could not comment on why Poster was asked to leave his job with the diocese.
"This is the first we've heard anything about him violating his parole," Gruss said Wednesday. "We personally haven't had a whole lot of contact with him."
While Poster was employed by the diocese and on supervised release, he was not allowed access to a computer or contact with children. Gruss said the church made him follow the release rules imposed by the court.
The diocese sent a request to the Vatican in June 2004 to defrock Poster and several priests accused of sexual abuse. Gruss said no decision has been made, and the request is still in Rome.
Dustin Lemmon can be contacted at (563) 383-2493 or email@example.com
A hearing to consider revoking the parole of the Rev. Richard Poster will be held Tuesday in federal court. Judge Thomas J. Shields ordered him detained until the hearing.
Rev. Richard Poster was sentenced to a year in federal prison on a charge of possessing child pornography on a church-owned laptop in January 2004.
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