Pastor in Godfrey, Illinois sentenced in child porn case

Illinois

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GODFREY, Ill. – A former Lutheran pastor at a Godfrey, Illinois church will spend more than seven years in federal prison after being convicted on child porn charges.

Federal investigators said Steven Tibbetts admitted to collecting illicit images and videos of children over three decades.

Tibbetts, once the head of the Resurrection Lutheran Church, was arrested in June 2020 and charged with knowingly distributing child pornography. The charge is related to a Dec. 2019 incident.

Court documents and evidence presented at trial said Tibbetts began viewing and distributing the material in the 1990s and continued until his arrest. By that time, he’d been utilizing social media sites to spread child pornography.

When the FBI began investigating the matter, agents traced the IP address to a computer used by the pastor. Federal authorities searched his home and Tibbetts is said to have confessed. He further admitted to having a sexual interest in minor males as well.

While Tibbetts was out on pre-trial release, an officer found additional electronic devices at Tibbetts’ home, containing more than 2,400 images and 400 videos of child pornography.

Tibbetts was stripped of his duties at the church after his arrest. He’d been a Lutheran pastor since 1992.

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