Illinois priest charged with multiple counts of child pornography

An associate pastor at Roman Catholic churches in Illinois faces 16 felony child porn charges as well as a methamphetamine possession charge, authorities said.

The Rev. Gerald Hechenberger, 54, who serves at three parishes in St. Clair County, Ill., east of St. Louis, was arrested Monday after a search warrant was executed at a church rectory in Mascoutah, Ill, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Bond for Hechenberger has been set at $2 million, Fox 2 Now in St. Louis reported.

Authorities acted after receiving a tip that the priest had been distributing child pornopgraphy, the station reported. It was not immediately clear if Hechenberger produced the images himself, or had any direct contact with the children depicted, authorities told the station.

The investigation is continuing, police said.


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