A former priest in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced to prison after being convicted of downloading child pornography, and his explanation for why he did so has raised eyebrows.
Kevin Gugliotta, a 55-year-old resident of Mahwah, New Jersey, was arrested in September 2016 after a month-long investigation, per the Pocono Record. According to the Record, Gugliotta had a private residence in Gouldsboro, Pennsylvania, that he stayed at on his off days, where he downloaded the pornography.
Gugliotta was eventually charged with 20 counts of child porn and 20 counts of disseminating images of children involved in sexual acts. He pleaded guilty to one count of dissemination in return for the 39 other counts being dismissed.
According to the Scranton Times-Tribune, Gugliotta, who was removed from his parish by the Archdiocese of Newark after the charges were filed, was sentenced to 11 1/2 to 23 1/2 months in jail on Thursday, with credit for 10 months in prison already served as he awaited trial.
WBRE reports that Gugliotta did not speak to reporters after Thursday’s sentencing, but pre-trial records indicate that he told authorities he downloaded the child pornography because of poker. Specifically, Gugliotta, who told probation officers he is a poker player, felt that God was attacking him when he lost games and tournaments. By downloading the pornography, Gugliotta told officers, he felt he was getting revenge on God.
“That was his reason. He's not happy that's how he felt, as the judge indicated. There are other ways to handle issues and handle anger,” Gugliotta’s attorney, Jim Swetz, said, per WNEP.
"No matter what he says why he did it, he still admits he did it and that's the important thing as a prosecutor," prosecutor Janine Edwards told WBRE.
"That was a surprising thing in the court, for sure,” a fellow priest and friend told WNEP. “People do things under stress they wouldn't normally do.”
Gugliotta apologized in court for his actions, and has agreed to a deal that will require him to be on probation for five years and register as a sex offender for 25. As part of his probation, WBRE reports, he will not be allowed to gamble and police will be able to search his electronic devices at any time.