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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.

Mary Newman Huber July 04, 2012 at 10:52 AM
Absolutely nothing surprises me about the church anymore. I'm a cradle catholic (deliberate use of lower-case "c") with 16+ years of catholic education, raised in a very theological family. Abused by a priest. Not believed even by my own mother. As I said, nothing surprises me anymore.
Joseph July 04, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Based on federal law "Masha's Law," it is a crime to download child pornography, the minimum civil penalty for anyone who downloads child pornography to $150,000. The children in this area of CT and this parish are safer now that this creep has been caught
Mary Newman Huber July 04, 2012 at 02:28 PM
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. That reply galls me. Little children were raped so this creep Carey could purchase the images. Carey is one of the horrible people who CREATE the market for images of tortured little kids. He is as guilty as the rapers, themselves.
Arthur Banks July 04, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Joseph, As long as the church is in existence there will be child pornographers and child molesters. It is sad and it is disheartening that in the New York papers there's barely a hint of this story. Guess Cardinal Dolan has them all scared. He was a power as an Archbishop in the New York Diocese and now that he's a Cardinal, well you see where this is going.
Judy Jones July 04, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Possessing child porn is a federal crime. It is very serious and does terrible harm to the children in the porn photos. Let's hope that every person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and misdeeds by Fr Dennis Carey, will find the courage an strength to speak up, call police (not church officials), expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing. Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com, (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,) is the worlds oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite the word priest in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers and increasingly, victims who were assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like summer camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts, etc.
Aaron Rosenberg July 04, 2012 at 04:40 PM
To those who are calling him a creep, you clearly do not know Father Dennis Carey. He is a decent, compassionate person, who happens to have a problem. I wish him well in dealing with this addiction. Rabbi Aaron Rosenberg
Equineone July 04, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Arthur, To make a statement like that implies that child pornographers and child molesters are confined to "the church". This is patently untrue; and a very damaging statement toward all the good, honest, decent people in "the church". And let me end by saying, I am not a memeber of "the church" or any church or organized religion. But I am sure that statements like yours are not part of the solution.
Mary Newman Huber July 04, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Don't kid yourself -- decent, compassionate persons do NOT financially support an evil practice that tortures innocent children. While Carey is whining that he "needs help," does he even hear the SCREAMS of the little children being raped? These are videos that he is PAYING to see, thus he is supporting these vicious acts on children.
madeline lopez July 05, 2012 at 12:09 AM
I am sorry for your abuse, Mary. I, too, was abused by a priest; I, too, am not surprised or shocked by any news coming out of the Catholic church. Many victims were not believed by their own parents. They couldn't believe that Fr. so-and-so would do such a horrible thing, and punished the child for telling a lie. The blind faith parents had in their clergy is very disturbing. Let's hope that parents will believe their kids now (though many kids will never tell, or if they do, it will take them decades).
madeline lopez July 05, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Equineone, Arthur Banks never said that child abusers & those who watch child porn are "confined" to the church. If you read his post again, you will see that he didn't come close to saying that. He never said that crimes against children ONLY happen in the church. (I don't know Arthur, but it jumped out at me that you irresponsibly criticized him for something he never said.
madeline lopez July 05, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Aaron Rosenberg: Watching children being sexually exploited/molested/raped is VERY creepy. (They are by definition being abused/raped given that they are children.) In my opinion, that makes the person watching those acts a creep. A "spiritual leader" who enjoys child porn is even more creepy as he is supposed to be setting the example of "goodness" for others. There is nothing "decent" about his hypocrisy. I, too, hope he gets help for his addiction/sickness, particulary given that I am a recovering addict. But his addiction, unlike some other, specifically involves children being abused. It is also a serious crime. You minimize his behavior by saying he "just happens to have a problem." Dennis Carey may have the ability to be compassionate, but he is certainly a creep. It troubles me that you, as another "spiritual leader" (if you are indeed a rabbi), would minimize his criminal behavior. It's fine to pray for Carey, and to hope he overcomes his addiction. But let's call it what it is, he's a creep.
Elizabeth July 05, 2012 at 01:19 AM
It is completely unnecessary for you, Rabbi Rosenberg, to leave a comment such as the one above. Send him a personal note to his home instead of implying that this man is a "decent" human being on a blog. A "decent" human being would never have done such a thing. His actions were inexcusable! He was doing something that is not only illegal, but immoral. Bishop Cote should march himself over to St. Paul's Church and apologize to the parishioners, in person. Fr. Carey commited these acts within their church and under his leadership. Maybe the clergy need a reality check!
Judy July 05, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Teacher, do your parishioners believe you are a decent man? I don't think even one of your parishoners would call you a decent man if YOU had continued in ministry, while sinning and committing crimes against children. A 'decent man' would have stepped down from the ministry. He would have sought godly counsel, made a true and outright confession of repentance with his mouth to his congregation, before he had a warrant for his arrest! A 'decent man' would not have waited two years, letting others confess their sin to pornography and counseling them on overcoming these addictions. Fr. Carey ran away. He resigned. Without saying or doing the right thing for his congregates! Rabbi, I believe you to be a decent man. I do, however, question your judgment to openly align yourself and defend this mans character. Compassionate and decent are not the words that come to my mind, but I will let God judge, for He alone is fair.
Mari F July 05, 2012 at 05:34 AM
Extremely upsetting, disappointing to put it mildly. And very very sad. I remember Father Carey's compassion and concern after he found out my father, someone he had never even met, had stage 4 cancer. A year later he was still regularly inquiring about his health. So I do understand what Rabbi Rosenberg is trying to say. No human being is fully good or fully evil. However this addiction started, I don't think Dennis Carey ever had any doubt about how wrong it truly was.
fedspy July 05, 2012 at 12:35 PM
as a retired federal investigator, and working in the private sector for 7 years doing backgrounds for national security, and suitability for federal employment, it is not surprising that there is such a pattern in the catholic church having pediphiles or gay priest. normal hetersexual men seek woman companionship. .the catholic church needs to screen candidates for their priest hood, and do it for active priests at least every 5 years. a profile of carey to me would have raised red flags. . an in depth background checks starting with the vatican would be a good start. a good example of problems within the vatican would be Cardinal bernard law of ma. who fled ma. several years ago to the vatican to avoid prosecution due to his involvement with moving around priest with problems. there is toooo much blind faith in the catholic church, and an independent agency should be contracted to conduct backgrounds into all with the church hierachy to 'clean house'. how many millions of dollars have been paid out over the years by the church is incredible. i would also question who paid or provided bail money for carey, and how many former priests that have problems are supported by the vatican in retirements, as their manra is everyone is forgiven. the point here is the parishioners need to take back their church because the ones running the catholic church are not doing it. whatever carey says now, i i would believe nothing he says, and verify everything.
R Lee Balderdash July 05, 2012 at 02:35 PM
I wonder how many police conducting "investigations" fall prey to a fascination with kiddie porn. They must have to look at a lot of that stuff to catch the "criminals".The way i see it, the real criminals are the ones that take the pictures and make the videos and buy them and sell them- not people that happen upon them in internet newsgroups. Yes, the priest has a moral failing, but unless he bought or sold porn or engaged children in pornographic acts, i don't see him as any more of a criminal than the investigators that view the same pictures and videos as part of their job.
Mary Newman Huber July 05, 2012 at 05:41 PM
To Waterford born and bred: does your comment mean that ONLY those who are absolutely and totally sinless are allowed to try to put a stop to those who rape children and those who purchase photos and videos of children being raped?
Waterford born and bred July 05, 2012 at 05:56 PM
I am not talking about "stopping" anything....I am speaking to the venomness nature of these accusations, allegations.
Mary Newman Huber July 05, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I'm not into judging beyond personally considering such people who purchase child-rape pictures and videos as creeps who, by their purchase of these evil products contribute to the rape of children. If they didn't financially support this evil business with their purchases, there would be no sale of child-rape photos and videos, and the children would not be caught up in this evil "business" enterprise. I'll leave judging of these, um, creeps, up to the courts. Hopefully, the producers and those who purchase these dreadfully sad "products" will all be caught and prosecuted. Prison, not stoning, would suffice. I am all about protecting innocent children. Are you?
Chuck O'Donnell July 05, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Well, here we go again, lets ask Bishop Michael Cote about such incidents he harbored and had knowledge of living in rectories when auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Portland, ME, along with his uncle, the late Most Rev Amedee Proulx, DD, also of Diocese of Portland, ME. We talk about leading by example, Cote like some nearby counterparts, Most Rev Thomas Dupre, DD (defrocked bishop/Springfield, MA), Most Rev Daniel Reilly, DD (retired/Worcester, MA, formerly of Providence, RI and Norwich, CT) and Most Rev George Coleman, DD (Fall River, MA) with moving priests around dioceses knowing they were first hand known to molest and violate children, and in a few cases, innocent children seriously psychologically abused and 1 altar boy murdered, and no one cares to put these guys out of commission. Let justice be served towards Carey, as did with Buongirno, Hebert, McConaghy, McManus, Bissonette, Comtois and all the other crooks who have immoral integrity to violate ones faith
Mandy July 05, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Lets not sugar coat this...a pedophile is a pedophile is a pedophile.. I pray that this "creep" just didnt act on his perversions. Im so tired of our justice system not protecting our young and letting these creeps walk the streets. He and many many others walk free while the victims live with the pain. You CANNOT change a pedophile and prison isnt enough for these pigs!! Im disgusted!!
christine July 06, 2012 at 12:19 AM
We may all "sin," but most of us don't engage in behavior which involves the sexual abuse/rape of children. We do judge criminals through our legal system. I, for one, feel perfectly comfortable passing judgment on those who commit such crimes. It is simply wrong. We hold each other accountable for crimes in this country.
Mark Wotring July 06, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Rabbi, For you to suggest that such a person is decent categorizes you as a creep as well. You obviously don’t know what it means to be decent and I wonder how much compassion he had for the victims of his entertainment? I would highly suggest to the parishioners of your synagogue to question your character as well for making such a foolish statement.
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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