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‘Sugar daddy’ Catholic priest ‘swapped nudes’ with teenage boy on Grindr

Emma Powys Maurice July 30, 2020
Sugar daddy Catholic priest swapped nudes with teenage boy on Grindr

Reverend Francis Hughes allegedly knew the boy was underage when he tried to meet him for sex (Screenshot: NBC New York)

A Catholic priest has been arrested by the FBI for allegedly sending explicit texts and photos to a 15-year-old boy on Grindr.

Reverend Francis Hughes of St Pancras Church in New York is accused of starting the relationship with the teen in February. Federal prosecutors say the priest, 65, admitted he knew that the boy was underage.

“How would you like to be spoiled by your grandpa?” Hughes allegedly wrote to the boy, who lived in Westchester. “We can try to make it a regular thing.”

The teen asked the Hughes if he could send him explicit photos, to which the reverend replied: “I’d never get mad about that.”

The priest then sent his own nude photo to the boy and the two then discussed Hughes becoming his “sugar daddy”.

When the boy’s Grindr account was suspended they continued the conversation via text message. He was uncovered when the FBI executed a search warrant on the teen’s phone and found the texts, which included at least half a dozen photos.

“The allegations against Francis Hughes are chilling and frightening to any parent,” said acting US attorney Audrey Strauss in a statement.

“A person who, by the nature of his profession, is presumed to be trustworthy allegedly victimised a child. Thanks to the FBI, Hughes now faces a serious federal charge.”

FBI assistant director William F Sweeney Jr. added: “We expect adults, especially those in positions of trust like Francis Hughes, to protect our children, not victimise them. Sadly, these allegations demonstrate there are still predators out there who abuse this trust.”

He urged anyone who may have been a victim of Hughes to come forward with information by contacting 1-800-CALL-FBI.

According the criminal complaint, Hughes admitted to having a sexual encounter with a teen boy on school grounds in Queens and that he had made numerous previous attempts to meet other teens for sex.

He was charged with one count of receipt and distribution of child pornography, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Hughes has been removed from his parish, a spokesperson for the diocese of Brooklyn said, and the diocese has also taken his profile down from its official website.

 

More: Catholicism, Grindr, paedophile priests

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