Priest Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charge

Albany Times Union
November 16, 2007

ALBANY — A 50-year-old Roman Catholic priest from Columbia County pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to downloading child pornography, authorities said Thursday.

The Rev. Raymond Ethier, who had been serving as pastor of St. John Vianney in Philmont, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography before Judge Thomas J. McAvoy. He faces up to 10 years in prison. He remains free pending sentencing on Dec. 10.

Ethier was arrested in late May by agents from the Department of Homeland Security, State Police and Hudson police. According to court papers, he admitted to downloading pornographic images depicting young children.

Authorities seized a computer from Ethier's home and found 21 computer videos and a number of still images of "minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct," according to a news release Thursday by the U.S. attorney's office.

Bishop Howard J. Hubbard put Ethier on administrative leave after his arrest.

Albany Diocese spokesman Ken Goldfarb said Thursday night that Ethier remains on leave and is voluntarily attending a residential treatment program in Maryland. The Diocese has said it never received any complaints against Ethier before his arrest.

"Certainly we condemn this type of activity and hopefully he'll find some healing and peace," Goldfarb said Thursday.

Ethier has also served at Our Lady of Victory Church in Troy.


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