Former Grand Prairie, Texas Priest Sentenced to More Than Four Years in Federal Prison Without Parole on Child Pornography Conviction
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 01, 2009|
DALLAS—Matthew Bagert, 40, a former priest in Grand Prairie, Texas, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay to 51 months in federal prison, following his guilty plea in April to one count of possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Bagert, now a resident of Richardson, Texas, will also be required to register as a sex offender and must surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on January 19, 2010.
In plea documents signed and filed with the Court, on February 1, 2005, Grand Prairie Police executed a search warrant at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church after receiving information that an associate priest saw, then Father Matthew Bagert, viewing an image of a young, nude boy on the rectory computer. Bagert admitted that he was responsible for the child pornography on the rectory computer and that he had used the Internet to find the images.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Grand Prairie Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Aisha Saleem was in charge of the prosecution.