Wayne Buchanan PHOTO COURTESY OF THE HANCOCK COUNTY JAIL

Probation violation charged in child porn possession case



ELLSWORTH — The former pastor of a Tremont church held up as an example of rehabilitation at his sentencing last month for possession of child pornography was arrested Sept. 7 for violating his probation.

Wayne Buchanan, 63, of Southwest Harbor allegedly violated his probation by using his computer to access websites and perform internet searches that are prohibited by his court-ordered conditions, according the Hancock County District Attorney Matthew Foster.

Buchanan, the former pastor of the Tremont Congregational Church and St. Brendan’s Anglican Mission, pleaded guilty Aug. 25 in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court to one count of possessing sexually explicit material of a minor under the age of 12, a Class C felony level crime. That same day, he was sentenced to a suspended one-year prison term and to two years probation with conditions that include no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 12. He also is required to register with the Maine Sex Offender Registry.

Buchanan was released from the Hancock County Jail on Friday, after posting $5,000 bail.

According to Foster, one of the search terms used by Buchanan was “rubbin butts,” which the Southwest Harbor man claimed was a search for a brand of barbecue sauce. While there is an actual brand by that name, “law enforcement feels that explanation is somewhat convenient,” the district attorney wrote in an email.

Buchanan’s probation conditions allow him to use the internet only as part of his sex offender treatment, Foster said.

The sentence handed down in August was the result of a plea agreement between the defendant and prosecutors. Buchanan faced up to five years in prison.

At the time, Assistant District Attorney Toff Toffolon told the court that Buchanan had “engaged in extraordinary rehabilitation efforts.”

Buchanan’s attorney, Richard Hartley, said the work his client had done “is exceptional.” Buchanan sought counseling to deal with “what has been a long-recognized condition” and had gone as far as to start “a sex offenders anonymous program here in Ellsworth,” Hartley said.

By violating his probation, Buchanan could be ordered to serve his one-year prison sentence. That will be determined at a hearing, which Foster said is scheduled for Oct. 13.

Buchanan was charged with possession of child pornography in December 2016 following an almost yearlong investigation by the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit. The investigation began when a detective identified a particular computer “making available” files that previously had been identified as child pornography.

Subsequently, the Maine Attorney General’s office issued a grand jury subpoena to identify the subscriber of the internet address, which proved to be Buchanan, with a service address at his Ridge Acres home in Southwest Harbor.

Detectives with the computer crimes unit executed a search warrant at Buchanan’s home in January 2016, seizing computers, thumb drives and a memory card. In an affidavit filed to support the search warrant, Detective David Armstrong stated another detective downloaded “numerous sexually explicit images” involving children from Buchanan’s computer.

Buchanan resigned as pastor of the Tremont Congregational Church and St. Brendan’s Anglican Mission on Jan. 7, 2016, the day after state police executed the search warrant.

 

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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