Former Pastor Sentenced for Child Porn

Newswatch 50
May 18, 2009

A former pastor in St. Lawrence County has been sentenced to probation for downloading child pornography.

60-year-old Merton E. Parks, the former pastor of Oswegatchie First Baptist Church was sentenced in St. Lawrence County Court today to 10 years of probation after pleading guilty to Possessing a Sexual Performance by a Child. Parks must also register as a sex offender.

Parks was accused of downloading child pornography onto a computer at his office in the church in July of 2008. The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Cyber Crimes unit tracked Parks as he used his credit card to buy child pornography.

111 photos were found on Parks' computer, all involving nudity but only four involved children in sexual activity. Federal officials determined the images weren't graphic enough to warrant a federal prosecution.

Parks resigned as pastor after learning he was under investigation.

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