Ex-Area Priest Gets Prison Term
Sentenced to 48 Months after Pleading Guilty to Child Porn

By Mark Boshnack
Daily Star
June 10, 2008

A former associate pastor at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Oneonta was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Albany on Monday on a child pornography charge.

Raymond Ethier, 51, of Hudson, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography in November, according to a media release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

When he was arrested in May 2007 after an investigation by an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, he was pastor at St. John Vianney in Philmont. He served at St. Mary's from 1990 to 1995.

He was sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to serve a 10-year term of supervised release, according to the release. He was ordered to have no unsupervised contact with minors; to participate in a sex-offender program; and register with a state sex-offender registry program, according to the release. The court also ordered that various computer equipment be forfeited.

Ethier initially admitted to investigators before his arrest that he was engaged in sexually explicit conversations online that sometimes featured children, according to a felony complaint on file in federal court. When he turned over his computer later that month, investigators found explicit videos featuring boys between the ages of 9 and 16, according to the federal complaint.

When questioned, Ethier admitted using the file-sharing program Limewire to download the videos that were the basis of the charges. A forensic examination of the computer taken from his residence found 21 videos and a number of still images. The videos were deleted the same day they were received, according to the release.

A couple of those who know Ethier said their thoughts are with him.

Jo-Ann LaMonica is on the pastoral council at St. Mary's Church and the board of St. Mary's school, among other responsibilities. She has maintained her friendship with Ethier and that is not going to change, she said. Ethier is undergoing counseling in Maryland and is scheduled to start his prison sentence on July 1, she said. A court official could not be reached to confirm that date.

"It's been a sad day for me," LaMonica said, but "I don't believe in jumping ship when people make mistakes."

Ethier knows he made a wrong choice, she said, and "he is willing to do what God wants of him."

St. Mary's pastor Rev. Joseph Benintende said, "Whatever the outcome, we are praying for his well-being."

The director of communications at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, Kenneth Goldfarb, could not be reached when a call was made after office hours Monday for comment.


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