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Former Pastor Sentenced to 20 Years on Charges of Possessing Child Sexual Abuse Material

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A former Florida pastor and college professor was sentenced to 20 years in prison Aug. 16 after pleading no contest to 20 charges of possessing child pornography.

John Griffin, 74, a former pastor at Riverbend Community Church in Ormond Beach and former Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University assistant professor, also will be required to register as a sex offender when he is released from prison and will be banned from contacting minors during his sentence, prosecutors from the State Attorney’s Office said.

“The defendant—as a former pastor—was in a position of trust and authority while possessing photos of sexually exploited children. It is amazing how folks like the defendant can deceive people so completely. His arrest has exposed him, and his sentence has held him accountable for his sexually criminal behavior,” said State Attorney R.J. Larizza.

A tip from social media site Snapchat relayed to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children led authorities to begin investigating Griffin, ClickOrlando reported.

Griffin was arrested Jan. 20 after investigators executing a search warrant at Griffin’s home found hundreds of photos of children as young as 4 years old in sexually compromising positions on his electronic devices, as well as evidence that he had sent files to others, according to a press release from the State Attorney’s Office cited by the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

He was initially released on bail the day after the arrest, but his bond was revoked after he sent a letter to a child while awaiting trial, per the News-Journal.

Investigators also found that Griffin had carried on an online sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl in Arkansas, per ClickOrlando.

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Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.