ST. LOUIS (MO)
BuzzFeed [New York NY]
January 12, 2023
By Pocharapon Neammanee
James T. Beighlie, 72, sparked suspicion after colleagues found “compromising images” of the priest on a church printer, prosecutors said.
A retired priest in St. Louis, Missouri, was sentenced to five years in prison after police discovered he had created a PowerPoint presentation containing thousands of images of child sexual abuse material.
The US Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Missouri announced on Tuesday that James T. Beighlie, 72, had amassed 6,000 pictures containing child sexual abuse on one computer, as well as 236 images and 40 videos of similar content on another.
Officials said that the priest had created two PowerPoint presentations with graphic titles that linked to the material and had revised and edited the presentations more than 200 times since 2008.
“This criminal conduct was part of his daily life,” Assistant US Attorney Colleen Lang said in a statement.
Beighlie’s criminal activity was discovered in 2021, while he was working at the Congregation of the Mission in St. Louis, after his colleagues found “compromising images” of the priest on a church printer.
The church launched an internal investigation, where a private IT support company found “videos of minors engaging in sex acts,” according to the statement.
The priest pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography in October.
In addition to the five-year sentence, the court ordered Beighlie on Tuesday to pay $4,750 in restitution to one of the victims portrayed in his collection and $22,000 in special assessments that will go toward other victims of crimes involving children.
One of the victims who appeared in the abuse material spoke out in a letter to presiding Judge Matthew T. Schelp.
“It’s depressing and sickening to know that people were looking at images and videos of my online sexual abuse when I was a little girl and that they were getting pleasure from it — my abuse,” the victim wrote.