CTV News Montreal
Published Friday, February 21, 2014 11:00AM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 21, 2014 12:47PM EST
A former Roman Catholic Deacon from the West Island has pleaded guilty to several child pornography charges.
William Kokesch entered the guilty plea in court Friday morning to the three crimes he was accused of: production, possession and distribution of child pornography.
He is facing anywhere from one to 10 years in prison.
Kokesch was arrested in December 2012 and was granted bail soon afterward, under the condition he refrained from using the internet and cameras, and avoided public areas where children were likely to gather.
Police initially 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.
Defence lawyer Jeffrey Boro said many child pornographers initially do not realize they are subjecting victims to a crime.
“The problem with this type of crime is you don’t realize when you’re doing it that you are doing damage, that if these children were not exploited then you wouldn’t have this type of problem in our society,” said Boro.
“Once you get stopped and you have to realize what is evident to a lot of people, it can really play on your conscience.”
Former consutant on sexual crimes
Authorities also said they were tipped off to Kokesch’s actions by a citizen.
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.
His lawyer, Jeffrey Boro, said Kokesch has had no contact with the church but has been getting support from his family, including his wife who was in court on Friday.
Kokesch’s next court appearance is on May 26, when the Crown wants a report on the psycho-sexual treatment Kokesch has been receiving.
To come: an extended interview with lawyer Jeffrey Boro