Priest Busted for Child Porn

By Jeff Saperstone
Fox 23 [New York]
May 30, 2007

A Columbia County priest is charged with having child pornography. Father Raymond Ethier is out on bond with home detention and is not allowed to preach.

Disgraced clergyman, 50 year old Father Raymond Ethier was lead out of federal court in Albany in handcuffs Wednesday evening. The priest of 22 years was arrested and charged with downloading and possessing explicit sexual images and videos depicting children. Authorities say the arrest came after they seized a computer. Court documents also allege he was having inappropriate conversations online using the name "nudistdude23" where he told someone from Canada he was sexually abusing children. Ethier claims the conversations were just fantasy.

Philmont resident Richard Minkler said, "A surprise yeah, a shock no, I'm not shocked by it no, you don't know who's doing it these days."

Philmont resident Pat Race said, "I was dumb struck because like I say, you just don't know people."

Pat Race was Father Ethier's neighbor when he lived at the Sacred Heart Parish rectory in Philmont. She describes him as a kind man who often kept to himself.

Race said, "He never did anything out of the ordinary or he just seemed... when people come out of church he would shake their hands talk to them for a few minutes wave to me across the street and then he would leave and go home."

Father Ethier was once pastor here at Sacred Heart Church in Philmont; the sign still has his name. It closed in 2006 leaving a community saddened; hearing today's news cuts even deeper.

After Catholic churches consolidated, Ethier became pastor of Saint John Vianney which currently holds mass at Saint Thomas Lutheran Church near Claverack. One man who knows the priest outside the church though has always thought there was something strange about him.

Minkler said, "His attitude, he was a very arrogant person…He wasn't a very nice person, a very sarcastic person."

Bishop Howard Hubbard placed father Ethier on administrative leave and he won't be able to function as a priest.

The bishop calls the allegations very serious and very troubling.

Ethier was released on home detention where he'll have to wear a monitoring device and he's not to have contact with minors.

If convicted he could face 5 to 20 years in jail.


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