March 01, 2005

Local Catholic Deacon Pleads Guilty To Possession Of Child Porn


By Hailie Brook

A deacon with a local Catholic Church is headed to prison. Last fall, Deacon Robert "Rap" Howell was charged with possession of internet child pornography.

In November, the Deacon pleaded guilty to the crime but many parishioners at St. Mary's Parish are angry because their priest just told about the conviction during last Sunday's sermon.

The former deacon will spend the next 18 months behind bars in federal prison. Meanwhile parishioners wonder why his guilty plea was withheld from them for so long.

The case against Deacon Howell began last May after his former employer discovered child porn on the Deacon's computer. "The age range here I believe involved children between the ages of nine and 13," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson.

Olson prosecuted the case against Howell. She said the F.B.I. proved eight of the explicit images on the former Deacon's computer illegally involved children. "There were a number of other images suspected but they weren't able to be definitely pinned down as items of child pornography," said Olson.

Posted by kshaw at March 1, 2005 04:07 AM