Religious order member loses appeal in child porn case

March 19, 2020 GMT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the appeal of a Roman Catholic religious order member who was convicted of possessing hundreds of child pornography images.

Justices said in a 7-0 decision that there was no merit to Thomas Sawyer’s argument that a judge did not have probable cause to approve the search warrant that led to Sawyer’s arrest in 2016.

Sawyer, 77, a member of The Brothers of the Holy Cross, pleaded no contest to felony possession of child pornography in 2017 and was sentenced to three years in prison. He has remained free pending his appeal.

Sawyer, who now lives in Missouri, faces beginning his prison sentence, if he does not appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. His attorney, Richard Emanuel, declined to comment.

Sawyer’s arrest came after his roommate called police in 2015 to report Sawyer was looking at nude photos of children on his computer. When the investigation began, Sawyer resigned as information technology director at Holy Cross High School in Waterbury.

At the time, Sawyer was living in a West Haven apartment with two other members of the religious order.

Police said they found more than 400 images of child pornography when they executed the search warrant.