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Waterford Priest Pleads Not Guilty In Child Porn Case

A Waterford priest charged last week with first-degree possession of child pornography pleaded not guilty to the charge Monday during a brief hearing in Superior Court.

The Rev. Dennis Carey, 65, entered the plea before Judge Patrick J. Clifford. Carey's attorney, Ronald F. Stevens, told the judge that Carey is residing at the Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell. He was released from jail last week after posting bail. Investigators arrested Carey last week at the rectory of St. Paul In Chains Church. He told police at the time that there were "inappropriate" photos and videos of children there, according to court documents. And, the priest said, he was addicted to them.
"Father Carey stated that he believed he knew why we were at the house with a search warrant and further explained that he had some inappropriate material on his computer," State Trooper David Aresco wrote in a seven-page arrest warrant affidavit charging Carey."Father Carey stated that he has an addiction to the child pornography and has tried to stop viewing it many times in the past," Aresco wrote. Carey told police he "has deleted many of the files because he knows that it is wrong."Carey has submitted his resignation as pastor of St. Paul to the Diocese of Norwich and it was accepted.In court on Monday, prosecutors reviewed the terms of Carey's release, including orders that he stay off the Internet and have no contact with children, a condition Stevens said worried Carey because he is concerned about having any incidental contact with children when he goes shopping at the grocery store.Clifford said "obviously there are children in the store," and he told Carey he is barred from having contact with anyone under the age of 16. Clifford continued Carey's case to Aug. 13.According to the arrest warrant affidavit, state police began their investigation of Carey after Los Angeles police contacted them about a child pornography investigation with a possible suspect in Connecticut. On June 28, state police seized computers and other evidence from the St. Paul parish rectory at 170 Rope Ferry Road.Aresco said he found 338 files of suspected child pornography, including 275 photos and 63 videos. The children in the images appeared to be under the age of 16, some as young as 2 or 3. They were naked or partially clothed, posed suggestively and engaged in "sexually explicit activity," the affidavit said.America Online had submitted a report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about the possibility that child pornography had been sent to someone in California via an AOL email account linked to the rectory.According to the affidavit, Carey admitted to police that he was the user of that email account. He said he "never intentionally distributed child pornography" but recalled "sending the emails and stated that the individual requesting them was very persistent."Carey was ordained as a priest in 1998 after a 25-year career as a certified public accountant in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.The charge against Carey, a Class B felony, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years.The Rev. Joseph Whittel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in the Quaker Hill section of Waterford is serving as interim parish administrator at St. Paul.By ALAINE GRIFFIN, [email protected]The Hartford Courant 

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