Retired St. Louis priest sentenced to 5 years in prison for possession of child pornography

A retired St. Louis priest was sentenced to five years in prison for child pornography possession.
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 3:57 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KFVS) - A retired priest from St. Louis, Mo. was sentenced to five years in prison for two counts of child pornography.

On Tuesday, January 10, U.S. District Judge Matthew T. Schelp sentenced James T. Beighlie, 72, to five years in prison after child pornography was found on his computer.

Beighlie must also pay $4,750 in restitution to one of the victims portrayed in the the abuse material, and $22,000 in special assessments that will go toward other victims of crimes involving children.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Missouri, Beighlie looked at child sexual abuse materials since at least 2008.

Beighlie possessed 6,000 images of child sexual abuse material, 3,000 images of child pornography and 2,992 images of child erotica.

Authorities also found two PowerPoint presentations with graphic titles, linking to thousands of images.

According to a statement from Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen Lang in court, Beighlie frequently visited and edited his Powerpoint Presentations more than 200 times over the years.

One of the victims spoke of their trauma in a letter to Judge Schelp.

“It’s depressing and sickening to know that people were looking at images and videos of my online sexual abuse when I was a little girl and that they were getting pleasure from it--my abuse,” the victim said.

Colleagues, who worked with Beighlie at the Congregation of the Mission in St. Louis, Mo., found compromising images on a church printer on May 17, 2017.

According to the release, the church launched an internal investigation. A private IT support company found what appeared to be videos of minors engaging in sexual acts, so an attorney for the church contacted the FBI.

Beighlie pleaded guilty to the charges in October 2022.