State police have arrested a Waterford priest accused of child pornography possession.
On May 29, the Police Department Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce in Los Angeles, California contacted the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes ICAC Taskforce for help with an investigation into suspected child pornography sent using an AOL email account.
On June 28, state troopers and the Waterford Police Department executed a search warrant at the St. Paul Parish Rectory, at 170 Rope Ferry Road in Waterford, and seized various items and then applied for an arrest warrant for Father Dennis Carey, the 65-year-old pastor.
Carey, of East Hartford, resigned on June 29, according to the Norwich Diocese. Father Joseph Whittel, of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Quaker Hill, will serve as interim parish administrator.
Carey surrendered to state police and was held on $100,000.
Carey appeared before a judge in New London on Tuesday, and was released after posting bond.
Conditions of being released include that Carey has no computer or Internet access and not possess pornography. He was also ordered to have no contact with anyone under the age of 13.
His attorney, Ron Stevens, said Carey has an addiction, is getting help for it and will be meeting with his psychiatrist on Tuesday.
He said Carey was viewing pornography on the Internet and did not have inappropriate contact with children, Stevens said.
He added that his client has no prior record.
According to the arrest affidavit, police found 338 suspected items of child pornography on Carey's computers, including 275 image files and 63 videos depicting boys and girls under the age of 16 in sexual manners and situations.
The case has been transferred to Part A and Carey is due back in court on July 9.
The Associated Press reported that Bishop Michael R. Cote said he and Carey became aware of the investigation on Thursday and that Carey stepped aside to focus on issues that might come up in the probe.
Cote said the church is cooperating with authorities, but he provided no additional details.
The diocese said in a statement issued on Tuesday that they just learned of the arrest of Father Dennis Carey.
"We, along with everyone else, will wait to see how the legal process unfolds and to learn the details of the investigation. These allegations are extremely serious and run contrary to everything we believe as a Church. To exploit children in that fashion is absolutely reprehensible. We pray the allegations are not true," the statement says.
"This is a sad moment for all of us. 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," Bishop Cote said in a statement. "We are all saddened and deeply hurt. "
The charges are a Class B felony and a conviction would result in a mandatory five-year sentence.