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A Massachusetts Episcopal priest has pled guilty in federal court in Worcester to child pornography charges.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Joseph Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division announced today the Rev. Gregory Lisby (40) had pled guilty to one charge of possession of child pornography.

Lisby was serving as rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Worcester in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts and worked as a kindergarten teacher with the Holyoke Public School system when he was arrested on 11 Sept 2019 by the FBI. He was taken into custody at the rectory he shared with his husband, the Rev. Timothy Burger rector of St Luke’s Episcopal Church in Worcester.

A 24 Feb 2020 statement from the US Attorney’s office said agents discovered an image depicting child pornography that had been uploaded to a Microsoft OneDrive account that was determined to belong to Lisby.  Approximately 180 images and 15 videos of child pornography were identified on the OneDrive. After a cyber tip from Microsoft alerted agents to child pornography on his personal cloud storage a search was executed at the rectory where Lisby’s iPad and cellphone were recovered. On those devices, investigators found login credentials for the OneDrive account used to store the child pornography.

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In a letter sent to the diocese last Friday, the Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, bishop of Western Massachusetts, stated that following his arrest the diocese received “devastating credible evidence” that Lisby sexually abused a teenager “after he was ordained as a priest in 2007.”

The bishop’s letter did not say where the abuse took place Fisher but noted Lisby’s husband, Rev. Timothy Burger was “in no way implicated in any of these charges” and had filed for divorce.

Lisby was suspended as rector of All Saints Church in Worcester in 2018 for an “inappropriate relationship with an adult that did not involve sexual contact”, the bishop said at the time of Lisby’s arrest. Following his guilty plea the diocese will begin the canonical process of deposing him from the ministry.

“I cannot undo this terrible situation, but I can commit our diocese to telling the truth and seeking healing and reconciliation for anyone who has been harmed by Lisby,” Bishop Fisher wrote, adding: “I am deeply saddened to know that a priest is alleged to have committed such a grievous sin, and on behalf of the entire church, I offer my most heartfelt apology to the victim, the victim’s family and to everyone whose trust in the church has been violated.”

The government press release stated the charging statute provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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