Priest arrested in teen sexting case

A Glendale priest was arrested by the FBI Wednesday and charged with receiving images of child pornography from a 15-year-old.

Francis Hughes, 65, of St. Pancras Church, allegedly communicated with the White Plains teenager on the Grindr website and then through texts.

During a text exchange on Feb. 16, the teenager sent three images of his penis to Hughes. Upon receiving one of the images, Hughes allegedly responded by saying he would perform oral sex on him.

Hughes told the teen that he was a part-time college professor and counselor. During the sexting, Hughes allegedly asked how the teenager would like to be spoiled.

“That makes me your sugar daddy ... And you’re the sugar baby, lol,” the priest texted, according to the complaint.

The teen said, “Im not gonna ask for hundreds of dollars lol” and “Just like enough to get some games or something.”

“A person who, by the nature of his profession, is presumed to be trustworthy allegedly victimized a child,” said Audrey Strauss, the acting United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. Strauss also called the allegations “chilling and frightening to any parent.”

Hughes admitted that he believed the boy he was messaging was a minor, according to the complaint.

Hughes allegedly said he engaged in a sexual encounter with someone he believed to be around 15 year old at a Queens high school. The priest also admitted that he had attempted to meet with minors for sexual encounters on numerous occasions, according to the complaint.

“We expect adults, especially those in positions of trust like Francis Hughes, to protect our children, not victimize them,” said William Sweeney Jr., assistant director-in-charge of the New York Office of the FBI. “Sadly, these allegations demonstrate there are still predators out there who abuse this trust.”

Hughes is charged with one count of receipt and distribution of child pornography, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

There is also a call out for anybody else who has been a victim of Hughes to contact the FBI at 1 (800) CALL-FBI (225-5324).

Hughes was removed from St. Pancras and a new temporary parish administrator was assigned effective immediately, the Diocese of Brooklyn said.

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