Former Navy Chaplain Pleads Guilty To Child Porn Charges

Jonah Bennett | Contributor

A former Navy chaplain just pleaded guilty to charges of child pornography and may be sent to prison for up to 50 years.

John Thomas Matthew Lee pleaded guilty Monday before a federal court in Delaware, admitting that he produced and distributed child pornography. According to authorities, Lee would upload child pornography images on social networks and in turn try and cajole minors to send revealing images of themselves.

His sentencing is scheduled for March 2.

This is not Lee’s first run-in with the law. Back in 2007, the former Navy chaplain and Catholic priest was court-martialed for forcible sodomy, in addition to failing to disclose the fact that he had HIV to another partner, The Associated Press reports.

“His selfishness was so strong, he was willing to destroy the lives of others to make himself happy,” prosecutor Marine Maj. Derek Brostek said back in 2007, according to The Washington Post.

As early as 2004, Lee used his rank and standing as a chaplain and Catholic priest to facilitate sexual interactions with a minimum of three servicemembers. In one case, a troubled young man sought his counsel. Lee invited the man back to his apartment following dinner, where the two drank scotch and beer. All of a sudden, Lee started masturbating.

Lee then came on to the man, at which point the man, now an ensign, told Lee firmly that he wasn’t interested. In response, Lee reportedly said, “It’s all right, it’s all right.”

While in court in 2007, Lee admitted that his rank caused servicemembers to feel pressured.

Lee discovered that he had HIV in 2005 and told another partner that “everything was ok” when asked about any health problems.

He spent some time in prison and was registered as a sex offender in Delaware in 2013.

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