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Pennsylvania Pastor Pleads Guilty to Possessing Child Pornography

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A western Pennsylvania pastor will serve up to two years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of possession of child pornography and related offenses.

Lancaster County Judge Merrill Spahn ordered Jody Sambrick, 61, to serve one to two years in prison plus eight years of probation on the charges, which were filed in 2018. At the time of his arrest, Sambrick was a pastor at Hopeland United Methodist Church in Lititz, Penn Live reported. 

He is no longer listed as a staff member on the church’s website.

After West Lampeter police received a tip from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, police executed a search warrant at Sambrick’s West Lampeter Township home and seized computers. 

A forensic examination of the computers found numerous images and videos depicting child pornography, leading to felony charges of three counts of possession of child pornography, one count of dissemination of child pornography, and two counts of criminal use of a communication facility against Sambrick. 

He was charged Oct. 11 and turned himself in to police a week later, then was released on $150,000 bail to await trial.

Assistant District Attorney Janie Swinehart prosecuted the case.

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Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.