Parishioners 'Shocked,' 'Disappointed' by St. Paul Priest’s Child Porn Arrest

"I Want to Get Help," the Rev. Dennis Carey Tells the Judge at Arraignment.

When police stormed the last Thursday, search warrant in hand, the only person who wasn’t surprised with the outcome was the Rev. Dennis Carey.

Carey, the head pastor of the Waterford church, knew what police would find: 275 images and 63 videos of child pornography on church computers, including videos of men having oral and vaginal sex with girls as young as 4 years old.

When police interviewed Carey that day, he admitted to being addicted to child pornography for the last two years, although he said he never touched a child inappropriately, according to the arrest warrant.

Carey immediately and was charged on Monday with first-degree possession of child pornography. During his arraignment hearing in New London Superior Court on Tuesday, Carey admitted he had a problem and said he would seek therapy to fix it.

“I want to get help,” Carey told judge Kevin P. McMahon.

Carey’s lawyer, Ronald Stevens, maintained his client never did anything physically inappropriate with a child.

“I just think there is a huge difference,” Stevens said, referring to the difference between viewing child pornography and physically abusing children.

Outside the courthouse after the arraignment, Carey remained silent, his eyes fixed on the ground, while Stevens told the assembled media his client would seek therapy and that the church did not have any knowledge of the alleged crimes.

“The church is not involved here,” Stevens said. “We wanted to make sure everyone understood the church is not involved here. In many of these other cases, the church is involved, hiding things — (that) didn’t happen.”

Parishioners' Reaction

Carey's arrest has left St. Paul’s parishioners reeling.

One congregant who went to the court hearing but asked not to be identified said she knew Carey well and thought he was a good priest.

“It’s a shock,” she said. “I just really hope he never had contact with the children.”

J.W. “Bill” Sheehan, who has been a lector at St. Paul’s since 1989, shared the same view.

“I’m essentially speechless,” Sheehan said. “Hopefully he did not affect any kids in our parish. That is really my big worry, that it went further than just watching something on a computer.”

First-degree possession of child pornography is a Class B Felony, and, if found guilty, Carey would receive a five-year mandatory prison sentence, according to McMahon.

Parishioners described Carey as understanding and easy to talk to. They said he had a good sense of humor, and there was no indication of any wrongdoing.

“Father (Carey) always has been nice,” said the female parishioner who did not want to be identified. “I couldn’t believe it.”

The woman urged that if Carey abused any child, the child should come forward. Sheehan agreed, saying he hopes the abused find “the courage” to do so, if there are any.

Both the woman and Sheehan said they felt bad for Carey, even though he brought it on himself and deserves to be punished. Both said they hope he gets the help he needs.

“I’m angry with him, but I’m also sad,” Sheehan said. “I just don’t understand why people do that. Human tragedy is always tough.”

Tuesday morning, the Most Reverend Michael R. Cote, Bishop of Norwich, sent out a statement about the arrest. Cote said the allegations are “extremely serious” and “to exploit children like that is absolutely reprehensible.”

“This is a sad moment for all of us,” Cote said in the statement. “We always hope we will never again hear about any investigations or allegations of misconduct by priests. For the parish community, for the priests of the Diocese, and for me personally, it is extremely difficult. We are all saddened and deeply hurt.”

“We are grateful to the state police for their professionalism,” Cote continued. “They continue to have our full support and cooperation.”

Father Joseph Whittel of in Quaker Hill will serve as the interim head pastor of St. Paul’s. Cote said the Diocese will cooperate with police and share information as it becomes available.

The Full Story

Carey, 65, who grew up in Boston, was ordained a priest in 1998 after working for 25 years as a certified public accountant. After working as a pastor in Middletown and as an administrator in St. John’s, he came to St. Paul’s in Waterford and has been living at the rectory at 170 Rope Ferry Road.

According to the arrest warrant, the criminal investigation into Carey began when Los Angeles Police obtained a warrant to search Carey’s e-mail in April after receiving a tip that he was e-mailing and receiving files containing child pornography. Los Angeles Police found the e-mail account was filled with images of child pornography.

Los Angeles Police then contacted Connecticut State Police, who verified the e-mail address belonged to Carey. On June 22, they secured a warrant to search St. Paul’s, and on June 28 conducted the search with the help of Waterford Police.

During their search, state trooper David Aresco interrogated Carey. In that interrogation, Carey said he first viewed child pornography two years ago in an Internet news group and became addicted to it. Carey said he tried to stop viewing the pornography many times, but couldn’t, according to the arrest warrant.

According to the warrant, police seized several computers and hard drives at the church and found 338 files of child pornography, including 275 photos and 63 videos. The videos included men having oral and vaginal sex with female children as young as 4 and another video of a man fondling a 2-year-old.

Carey resigned as pastor of St. Paul’s later that day. He insists that he never touched a child inappropriately.

Mark Wotring July 06, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Really R Lee? and just how often do you happen to "fall upon" kiddy porn in your internet news groups? Police officers are subject to many investigations that would turn up any sick and twisted tendancies that might have, unlike the clergy. For your information, in case you've convinced yourself otherwise , repeated exposure to perversity should only sicken a normal person not cause them to "fall prey" to a fascination.
Lisa Beth July 06, 2012 at 04:40 PM
"What a maroon"--Bugs Bunny
J. Scagnetti July 06, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Well my list of sins include jay walking, the occasional use of foul language , once in awhile not picking up after my dog if no ones watching and you advocate for child molesters so yes im judging you. You sir or maam are disgusting
Daniella Ruiz August 04, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Daniella Ruiz 10:06 am on Saturday it may be better explained as 'guilt by association', as partaking of the results of the original crime, either for profit or not, it provides incentive for the few (many?) who physically do victimize these babes for pleasure and profit (and eventual social damage to the child). the incentive may not be money but rather 'notoriety' and personal egoism. (and perhaps some simple cruel indifference to others) what needs to follow is a true investigation. do the few who 'happen upon' these sites, blogs, solicitations and proffers, deserve full punishment as do these high profile community members who become fully transactional to them? i'm fairly sure most current law and prosecutor bodies are trying to sort away the ones that can actually cause wider damage to morals and decency of the subsequent people they minister to, or have sway over. capitalism aside, what is alarming is the low level of actual monies derived from this segment of internet depravity, while other un-crimes ( how many dot porn sites?), gambling, pharma and other are busy reaping BILLIONS from legalized depictions of non-child sex. those alone bleed away money from family, community and eventually the country. being a CPA this factor may have have fascinated Carey, perhaps contributing to his 'interest'. this may be a fringe element, yet it reveals a truly schizoid nature of these individuals. do a wiki on 'schizoid', edumakate yerself! ;-))
pamela coleman October 03, 2012 at 03:15 PM
How about wishing the children of sexual abuse well after all they are the victims not Father Carey a man who like Mary Huber stated witnessed the sexual abuse of children. I wish him well too, in jail where someone like him belongs and true justice for some are carried out.


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