Ex-Priest from Massachusetts Sentenced for Soliciting Sex

Associated Press State & Local Wire
March 25, 2004

Nashua, N.H.- A former priest has been sentenced to three months in jail for soliciting sex with a police officer who was posing online as a 15-year-old boy.

Frederick Guthrie, 67, of Newbury, Mass., who had pleaded guilty to misuse of computer services, still faces child pornography possession charges in Massachusetts as a result of the investigation.

Guthrie had served as a priest for 40 years before he resigned and went on leave as pastor of St. Ann Parish in Gloucester, Mass., on July 1, 2001.

Testifying before he was sentenced, Guthrie denied that he meant to seduce the "boy," saying he planned only to counsel him on his sexuality.

But after reading transcripts of the chat sessions between Guthrie and the detective, Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge William Groff said Wednesday he didn't believe Guthrie.

"That's not what those e-mails show me," Groff said.

Guthrie had been drinking and chatting online with Nashua Police Detective John Fisher and the two agreed to meet on Nov. 2, 2001, but Guthrie thought better of it after he sobered up, and didn't show, said his lawyer, Paul Twomey.

Guthrie continued chatting with Fisher and was arrested Nov. 6, 2001, after he arrived for a meeting at Hayward's Ice Cream.

Police seized Guthrie's home computer, which led to child pornography charges in Massachusetts, a case that is pending, Assistant County Attorney Roger Chadwick said.

Guthrie, also sentenced to five years' probation, is prohibited from any unsupervised contact with anyone purporting to be less than 16 years old. He also is barred from possessing pornography and must undergo any sex offender evaluation and treatment that probation officers recommend.


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