Livonia Priest Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison for Child Porn

CBS Detroit
January 23, 2014

A Catholic priest has been sentenced to nearly 16 years in federal prison after he was caught with child porn, a decade after he was removed from his Livonia church for molesting an altar boy.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said the public needs to be protected from 63-year-old Timothy Murray, although the punishment was below the 22-year sentence sought by federal prosecutors.

The “crimes are stomach-churning … It’s difficult for me to believe you didn’t know what you were doing was criminal,” the judge said.

Murray pleaded guilty to the charges after the images were discovered on multiple computers in his Novi home.

At his sentencing Thursday, Murray said he was sad and remorseful for his actions.

“I had no idea I was a distributor but apparently I was,” he said.

“The hands-on sexual abuse that led to his removal from public ministry by the Catholic church had long-lasting effects on the defendant’s prior victim,” said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade. “Similarly, the victims depicted in his extensive collection of child pornography suffered greatly not only at the hands of their abusers, but by those, like the defendant, who collect and continue to view the permanent depictions of their abuse.”

According to court records, Murray, a Novi resident, used peer-to-peer software to trade child pornography with others, including an undercover DHS Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent. A search warrant executed at Murray’s home recovered at least seven different computer devices containing videos and images of child pornography.

A federal investigation revealed Murray’s collection included over 650 movies and over 450 child porn photos.

“For a former priest to engage in the depraved activity for which he is being sentenced is reprehensible,” said Marlon Miller, special agent in charge of HSI Detroit. “Today’s sentencing will hopefully bring a measure of closure to those affected by his actions. Cases like these serve to strengthen HSI’s resolve to aggressively pursue child predators.”

Prosecutors say Murray was removed from St. Edith Parish in 2004 after it was learned he had sexually assaulted an altar boy in the 1980?s. He currently has no duties as a priest, but Detroit’s Archbishop says he’s taking steps to remove him from the priesthood completely.

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