October 05, 2005

Former Priest To Be Sentenced In December To Pornography Charge

Leesburg Today

Dan Telvock

Oct 05, 2005 -- A former priest at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Leesburg pleaded no contest today in Loudoun Circuit Court to a charge of attempting to possess child pornography, avoiding a jury trial that was scheduled to begin Oct. 13.

Robert Brooks, 73, was originally charged with possession of child pornography, but Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman explained that investigators had difficulty identifying the ages of the people exposed in the pictures found on Brooks’ computer. Plowman said proof of ages is necessary to obtain a conviction on the possession charge.

“The issue was what was the age of the kids,” he said, “and we’ve got to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Plowman said he does not believe the charge was reduced because the punishment for the crime remains the same as a class 6 felony. Brooks’ attorney, Rodney Leffler, said he did not want to comment on why the decision was made to avoid the trial with the plea until after Brooks is sentenced Dec. 12.

Posted by kshaw at October 5, 2005 10:17 PM