Men [of God] at work in Florida.

13 Mar 2001


TAMPA - A former minister faces up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court to receiving child pornography on his computer.

Lawrence Kilbourne, 43, wept at the hearing, but later spoke calmly when a magistrate asked if he understood the consequences of pleading guilty. Kilbourne resigned as pastor of Forest Hills United Methodist Church in Oct. shortly after his arrest. He told the 500 parishioners in the church he founded that he had a sexual addiction.

FBI agents found thousands of images of child pornography on his computer that his daughter discovered after becoming suspicious of her father because he flirted with young girls at restaurants. She notified authorities after finding in his church-owned home a videotape of a man fondling a young child,which she feared was him.

He faces life in prison if convicted of capital sexual battery for allegedly molesting his daughter's friend during a sleepover in 1994. He admitted that he fondled the girl while she slept after prosecutors confronted him with the videotape he made of the incident. Kilbourne wept in court before pleading guilty to the pornography charges.

Authorities seized more than 200 videotapes and 15,000 computer files from Kilbourne's home. Some of the items depicted toddler and preadolescent children posed or engaged in sexual conduct.

Kilbourne pleaded guilty to federal charges of receiving the explicit computer files. He also faces state charges of sexual battery on a child under age 16 for the alleged videotaped molestation. A trial on that charge was set to begin in April. Investigators also were checking allegations that Kilbourne had improper contact with members of his church youth group, as well as children from the church day care center.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 2/4/00; AP, 2/3


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