Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pastor sentenced
Former pastor sentenced in child porn case

BOSTON | Wed Feb 9, 2011 5:50pm EST

BOSTON (Reuters) - A former minister from a spiritualist church in Massachusetts was sentenced on Wednesday to 84 months in prison on child pornography charges, authorities said.

Simeon Stefanidakis, 60, previously of Brookline, Massachusetts and Greenwich, Connecticut, was convicted of transporting child pornography in 2008 and of possessing it in 2009.

He possessed over 10,000 images and videos of child pornograph that included depictions of prepubescent minors and sadistic conduct, the Department of Justice said.

Stefanidakis was a minister, teacher, counselor and "medium" at the First Spiritual Temple in Brookline from 1977 onward.

The temple, an independent Christian Spiritualist Church, discontinued weekly services in June 2010, according to information on its website. Proponents of spiritualism believe spirits of the dead have the ability and inclination to communicate with the living through mediums.

Stefanidakis is also a former minister of the Albertson Memorial Church in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

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