Ex-grand Prairie Priest Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charge

By Melissa Crowe
The Dallas Morning News
April 28, 2009

Matthew Bagert

A former Grand Prairie priest this morning pleaded guilty to downloading child pornography on a church computer and will be required to register as a sex offender, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Matthew Bagert, 40, of Richardson is scheduled for sentencing on July 20 before U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay for one count of possession of child pornography, said acting U.S. Attorney James Jacks' office. Bagert faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release.

According to court documents, Grand Prairie police received information that an associate priest saw Bagert viewing an image of a nude boy on a rectory computer. The police executed a search warrant at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Feb. 1, 2005. Bagert admitted responsibility for the child pornography on the rectory computer and that he had used the Internet to find the images.

Kevin Clancy, one of Bagert's attorneys, told The Dallas Morning News earlier this month that his client has accepted responsibility for his crime and was never accused of child molestation.

"His total crime was looking at child pornography," Clancy said. "He's never touched or molested a child."

Bagert, who lives in Richardson, has left the priesthood and recently worked as a traveling installer for hotel energy management systems. He is now married and has a young child.


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