December 22, 2004
A Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography over the Internet was sentenced to 15 to 21 months in federal prison.
The Rev. Elwood F. Figurelle, 71, the former pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Mount Union, also must pay a $20,000 fine and participate in counseling. A federal judge in Williamsport also sentenced Figurelle to three years of supervised release.
"I got caught up in a very evil industry," Figurelle said at his sentencing Monday.
Figurelle in October 2003 pleaded guilty to a charge of taking obscene material from interstate commerce.
Prosecutors said they discovered the offense in February 2003 when Figurelle asked a computer store to transfer files from his old hard drive to a new computer he had just bought. Store employees turned the old hard drive over to the FBI after finding file names indicating they might contain child pornography.
Figurelle resigned from the Huntingdon County church in the fall of 2003, after working there for 8 years, officials from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown said.
The diocese spokeswoman, Sister Mary Parks, has said Figurelle had been removed from ministry and was not allowed to publicly function as a priest.
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