Wayne Buchanan, 63, of Southwest Harbor has pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Former pastor guilty of possessing child porn



ELLSWORTH — The former pastor of a Tremont church will serve a suspended sentence and probation after pleading guilty to a child pornography charge Friday in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court.

Wayne Buchanan, 63, of Southwest Harbor pleaded guilty to one count of possessing sexually explicit material of a minor under the age of 12, a Class C felony level crime.

Buchanan 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.

Justice Patrick Larson noted that the sentence was the result of a negotiated plea between the defendant and prosecutors. Buchanan, who will serve no time behind bars if he complies with his conditions, faced up to five years in prison and up to a $2,000 fine.

The prosecuting attorney, Assistant District Attorney Toff Toffolon, told the court that there is no evidence that Buchanan disseminated child pornography or that he had any sexual contact with minors. Since being charged, Buchanan has “engaged in extraordinary rehabilitation efforts,” Toffolon said.

Buchanan’s attorney, Richard Hartley, told the court that “a lot of work” went into the case.

“What sets this apart is what my client has done since,” Hartley said. “It really is exceptional.”

According to Hartley, Buchanan sought counseling to deal with “what has been a long-recognized condition” and has gone as far as to start “a sex offenders anonymous program here in Ellsworth.”

Before entering the guilty plea, Buchanan waived his right to have a grand jury consider the case.

Buchanan was charged with the crime 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. At the time, the Rt. Rev. Julian Dobbs, diocesan bishop of the Convocation of Anglican Church in North America, issued a statement.

“In January, law enforcement contacted Dr. Buchanan regarding a matter unrelated to his ministry as a pastor,” Dobbs wrote.

Buchanan, Dobbs continued, has been “removed from his holy orders in the Anglican Church by action of the bishop according to the canons of the church and no longer is a member of the Anglican clergy.”

Buchanan, according to published reports, was active in boy scouting and at one time was president of the Katahdin Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

 

 

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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