Former West Island Deacon sentenced for child pornography

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CTV Montreal

Published Tuesday, March 24, 2015 10:34AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 24, 2015 9:01PM EDT

A West Island man has been sentenced to two years less a day in prison for possession and distribution of child pornography.

William Kokesch is the former deacon of St. Edmund Church in Beaconsfield.He was arrested in December 2012 and early in 2014 he pleaded guilty to producing, possessing and distributing child pornography.

His sentence is 12 months for distribution of child pornography, 14 months for the publication of child pornography, and two years less a day for possession of child pornography, with all three sentences to be served concurrently.

Following his release Kokesch will be on probation for three years, and will be subjected to a ten year ban on using the internet or being near children under the age of 16.

Kokesch will be eligible for release after serving 1/6 of his sentence, or four months.

Letter to court

Before sentencing, Kokesch read a letter to the court to apologize for his actions.

It read:

I wish to use this occasion to publicly express my deep remorse and regret for the actions which have led to my being here with you. The past 27 months have allowed me to recognize the source of character flaws that played a role in what i did. Through the help and support of an extraordinary loving wife, some close friends and neighbours, my family, self-help groups and the professional and spiritual counselling I am undergoing, I have grown greatly as a person, rebuilding my life in one that is wholesome and good.

Through this all, I never lost my faith, in fact my belief in God has become even stronger, my marriage is stronger than it has ever been, I love my wife dearly.

I wish to apologize to all the people for the damage I may have caused them including those that it is impossible to reach out to.

I appeal to anyone in a similar situation as mine was to please find help. Seek counselling, whether through a therapist, clergy person, trusted friend or self-help group. Seek help for this is a very debilitating illness for which there is much hope and recovery.

Investigation began in Vancouver

Police were tipped off about Kokesch’s actions when a Vancouver man was arrested for possession and distribution of child pornography in 2011.

While going through evidence from that crime police discovered a link to Kokesch

Initially polce said they seized more than 2,000 images from his home at the time of his arrest and records of chat messages on pedophilic websites.

The Crown later revealed investigators had found more than 99,000 images and more than 2,000 videos of children being sexually exploited.

Many of the children involved, mostly girls, were one to five years old and had been placed in erotic poses or were engaging in explicit sexual activity, but there are no allegations that Kokesch had any contact with children himself.

Police had also discovered emailed conversations where Kokesch fantasized about having sex with children and babies.

From advisor to criminal

Kokesch was a consultant for the Catholic Church in St. Edmund’s parish in Beaconsfield, and had led conferences on sexual crimes.

He was once the spokesman for Canadian Conference of Bishops and was very active with Catholic youth organizing, working on conferences in Cologne, Toronto, Rome and Paris.

Following his arrest Kokesch was stripped of all pastoral duties by the Archdiocese of Montreal.

Kokesch began treatment for psycho-sexual problems before pleading guilty, and his sentencing report included information about his mental condition and changes in his behaviour.

His defence team said Kokesch suffered abuse as a child, before being adopted, and that is the cause of his interest in child pornography.

Kokesch was 65 when arrested.

“When you have a troubled childhood it sometimes manifest itself in acts such as the ones which Mr. Kokesch pleaded guilty to,” said Jeffrey Boro.

“As he said in court, he’s come a long way. 27 months, thereapy sessions, realizing he’s not alone, that there are many other people, many more than we know, that have the same problem.”

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