Priest tells court child porn was 'revenge on God' for poker losses

Priest tells court child porn was 'revenge on God' for poker losses

A US priest claimed he was trying to get revenge on God for poker losses when he collected child abuse images at his weekend home, according to his lawyer and court records.

Rev. Kevin Gugliotta was sentenced to between 11-and-a-half and 23-and-a-half months in jail, receiving credit for 10 months already served.

He pleaded guilty in March to a single count of disseminating child pornography after prosecutors dropped dozens of other charges that he possessed and distributed illegal images.

Pre-trial records show the 55-year-old told probation officers he felt God was attacking him when he lost poker tournaments and games, and got "revenge" by collecting the porn.

"That was his reason," defence lawyer James Swetz said. "He's not happy that's how he felt, as the judge indicated. There are other ways to handle issues and handle anger."

Jim Goodness, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, said Gugliotta has been removed from public ministry since church officials learned of the investigation in September.

Additional discipline, including possible removal from the priesthood, is possible "now that the processes in the courts have been completed", Mr Goodness said. "We've also kept Rome abreast of the situation."

The district attorney's office in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, was investigating child abuse images last August and determined some had been uploaded to a computer at Gugliotta's weekend home in Gouldsboro.

The tiny hamlet is about 90 miles west of Holy Spirit Church, where he served as parochial vicar in Union, New Jersey.

Monroe County authorities alerted those in Wayne County, who tried to search the Gouldsboro home in September, but authorities could not find Gugliotta at home and could not lure him there using a ruse so they could search the computer before he had a chance to destroy the evidence.

Wayne County authorities ended up tracking down the priest at the New Jersey church where they interviewed him and found his laptop in the church rectory.

Gugliotta had previously been suspended from ministry in 2003 for allegedly molesting a teenage boy in the 1980s, but because the incident occurred when he was still a layman and before he entered the priesthood, the Archdiocese of Newark ruled he could not be punished and quietly reinstated him in 2004.

He went on to have a long career in the priesthood, including ministering to youth groups.

AP

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