A suspended Catholic priest in Pennsylvania was sentenced in federal court on Wednesday for violating federal child sexual exploitation laws, according to the FBI.
Bartley Sorensen, who pleaded guilty last year to federal child pornography charges, was sentenced to eight years in federal prison. Sorensen was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine, a police source told the Law Enforcement Examiner.
The 63-year-old former pastor of St. John Fisher Church outside of Pittsburgh, pleaded guilty in May 2012 to receiving and possessing thousands of sexually explicit images of exploited children.
Sorensen was arrested in December 2011 after a parish lay employee who had undergone training to identify sexual predators saw him viewing child pornography on his computer and alerted law enforcement.
Investigators searched Sorensen’s church office, where they found 5,000 images on three CDs as well as additional photos and videos.
The images discovered included young boys either posing naked or engaged in sexual activity with other prepubescent males or adult males, according to affidavits.
One the photos depicted a nude male child with a rope around his genitals and what appeared to be blood on his genitals.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims.