Church brother arrested for child pornography

New Haven

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A New York man has been arrested on child pornography charges in West Haven.

Police say 73-year-old Thomas Sawyer of Valatie, New York is charged with first-degree possession of child pornography.

According to police, Sawyer is a brother with the Holy Cross Brotherhood and their investigation began when he was living at the Saint John Vianney Church Residence Hall at 300 Captain Thomas Boulevard.

“When you have somebody like that it’s pretty scary,” said a woman named Kathleen, a Saint John Vianney parishioner.

Police say during the investigation, they discovered more than 426 images of child pornography in Sawyer’s possession. Sawyer was arraigned in Milford Superior Court where his bond was set at $25,000.

“I hope he gets a fair trial, he gets a fair hearing, you know, I hope the American justice system works properly and if he’s found guilty I hope he pays the penalty,” said Robert Castello of West Haven.

News 8 reached out to officials with the Holy Cross Brotherhood for comment and were issued the following statement:

The Congregation of Holy Cross is deeply committed to the protection of all from abuse – especially children, young people and vulnerable adults. To that end, we adhere to a rigorous policy for preventing and dealing with all forms of sexual abuse. The Moreau Province is accredited by Praesidium, an independent organization which provides outside oversight and accountability.

In the situation of Thomas Sawyer, we have followed our stated policies for reporting suspected possession of child pornography. At the time the investigation started in July 2015, Br. Thomas resigned from Holy Cross High School in Waterbury, CT. It has been independently determined that computers at HCHS were never used by Thomas for viewing or collection of images.

Br. William Zaydak, CSC

Provincial Superior

News 8 also asked a spokesperson with the Hartford Archdiocese for comment on what has happened and we were told they “don’t have a statement.” We are still waiting to hear back from church officials with Saint John Vianney.

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