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Mo. Minister Gets 4 Years In Prison For Child Porn

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File photo of a church. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a church. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A southwest Missouri minister who told federal investigators he was addicted to pornography has been sentenced for nearly four years in federal prison.

Michael Alan Crippen, 53, was sentenced Thursday to three years and 10 months in prison without parole for one count of possessing child pornography. He also will be on supervised release for 20 years.

The former minister of First Baptist Church in Duenweg told investigators he had viewed images of adult and child pornography for several years — usually early in the morning before going to work.

Federal authorities began investigating Crippen after being notified by the Dutch National Police that child pornography had been downloaded on his computer from a website in The Netherlands, which had been hacked. Investigators said Crippen admitted downloading 10 images from the site on Aug. 23, 2009. A forensic examination of his laptop computer discovered more than 360 images of child pornography, including girls under 10 years old either posing nude or engaged in sexual conduct.

“Michael Crippen said he normally looks at porn, then feels ashamed and deletes the images,” a Homeland Security agent said in an affidavit supporting the felony charge.

Crippen was arrested in late October 2010 and pleaded guilty to one child porn possession count last July.

Robert McKinzie, a former minister and member of the church who stepped in briefly to perform services after Crippen’s arrest, said the congregation has been kept in the dark.

“We were totally surprised,” McKinzie said. “He was a fine preacher, but we got this news that he had a problem and they came and arrested him before we knew about it. And we’re still in the dark.”

Some people in the congregation have forgiven Crippen, some will never forgive him and others don’t care either way — as long as he’s not preaching in their church, McKinzie said.

“We’ve still got a problem,” he said. “It’s cut our congregation down drastically, but we’re hoping when we get a new pastor, we can overcome that pretty quick.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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