Former St. Louis Priest Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography
(For Immediate Release October 12, 2022)
On Wednesday, a Roman Catholic priest confirmed in court that he had thousands of photographs and films of child pornography and had spent years putting them into two PowerPoint presentations.
Father James Beighlie, 72, was a Vincentian priest who worked as an assistant pastor at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in St. Louis. According to the Congregation of the Mission, he formerly taught at St. Thomas Aquinas/Mercy High School in St. Louis, Vincent Gray Academy in East St. Louis, and Our Lady Queen of Peace church in House Springs, Missouri.
While investigators have only uncovered "known photos" of child pornography so far, we are fearful that he may have victims among the pupils with whom he worked. Possessing child pornography can be another grooming technique for individuals who abuse in person, consequently, we feel church and school officials should be on guard to ensure this man did not hurt any other children.
We call on church officials within every diocese where Beighlie worked and the Congregation of the Mission's Province of Vincentians, to reach out to parishioners, and former students and beg for anyone with information or those who may have suffered harm from this cleric to report their information to law enforcement. Given the age of this priest, his long career, and his predilection, we believe there may be victims who don’t even know they were harmed.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)