Retired St. Louis priest admits possessing child pornography

Associated Press [New York NY]

October 12, 2022

A retired St. Louis priest faces sentencing in January after admitting that he possessed thousands of images containing child pornography.

James T. Beighlie, 72, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to two counts of possession of child pornography.

Federal prosecutors say that in May 2021, colleagues of Beighlie found images on a church printer. He was working at the time for Congregation of the Mission in St. Louis. Church leaders launched an investigation that included a review of computers and a smartphone used by Beighlie.

The U.S. attorney’s office in St. Louis said that when an IT support company found what appeared to be videos of minors engaging in sex acts, the FBI was contacted.

One computer alone contained about 3,000 images of child pornography and 2,992 images of child erotica, according to the plea. Another computer had 236 images and 40 videos containing child sexual abuse material.

A Congregation of the Mission spokesman told the Post-Dispatch that there were no other known allegations of sexual abuse of a minor involving Beighlie.