ST. LOUIS – A retired priest from St. Louis has been sent to federal prison after admitting to making PowerPoint presentations with thousands of images of child pornography.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said James Beighlie, 72, pleaded guilty in October 2022 to two counts of possession of child pornography.

According to his plea agreement, Beighlie was working at the Congregation of the Mission in St. Louis in May 2017 when colleagues found compromising images of Beighlie on a church printer. The congregation launched an internal investigation and contacted a private IT company to inspect four desktop computer towers, a laptop, and a smartphone used by Beighlie.

The IT company discovered videos of minors engaging in sex acts, and the congregation contacted the FBI as a result.

Federal agents later found approximately 6,000 images of child sexual abuse material on one computer. That included nearly 3,000 images of child porn and another 3,000 images of child erotica. Another computer had 236 images and 40 videos containing child sexual abuse material.

Two PowerPoint presentations created by Beighlie linked to thousands of the images, according to the plea agreement.

Federal prosecutors said Beighlie had been looking at the illicit material since 2008, and that “this criminal conduct was part of his daily life.”

A U.S. District Court judge sentenced Beighlie to five years in prison and ordered him to pay $4,750 in restitution to one of the victims, and $22,000 in special assessments that will be paid to other victims of crimes involving children.